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Leslie R.

Epidemiologist
El Cajon, CA
Treated with SAVI – February 2011

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For about 15 years, my physician and I have been watching a small spot that appeared on a routine mammogram. After two failed attempts to biopsy the spot over the years, a radiologist was able to obtain a sample. I was diagnosed with a small (6mm) stage 1, grade 1 tumor just after Christmas. I was not frightened by the diagnosis of cancer but I was concerned about treatment. Given the very small size on the tumor, I wanted breast conservation surgery (lumpectomy) and was very concerned about the side effects of full radiation. I researched my options and found that a lumpectomy with brachytherapy was just as effective as a mastectomy or lumpectomy with full radiation

I was very fortunate that my provider offered the SAVI device for brachytherapy. I would not have been a good candidate for the other types of brachytherapy because I am large breasted and the tumor was near the surface on the underside of my breast.

The insertion of the SAVI catheter was very quick and painless. It was a little weird having the catheter sticking out of my breast for a week but that was the worst of it. The process of the radiation therapy did not hurt. Removal of the catheter was easy although I did need a couple of steri strips to close the insertion site and I had a bit of drainage at the site for several days.

I did not experience any side effects. I did take two weeks off work for the surgery and radiation but I was back to work on schedule with a full workload. Two weeks after completing treatment, I occasionally experienced a twinge in my breast as the tissue began healing. I have a small hard area where the catheter was placed, but my surgeon expects this to resolve in about six months, which makes sense physiologically.

The SAVI system made it possible for me to keep my life in balance. I was able to focus on getting better quickly. It would have been very difficult for me to spend 7 weeks getting radiation daily, not to mention the more severe side effects and damage to healthy breast tissue.

Thanks SAVI!