Melissa Brown

Melissa B.

Teacher/Assistant Principal
Warner Springs, CA
Treated with SAVI – August 2007


I wasn’t happy to find out I had cancer but there were two bright sides to this. First, my cancer was in the earliest possible stage. Second, my referral to the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center put me at the right place to learn about SAVI, which turned out to be a terrific option for me.

I knew I would need radiation therapy after my lumpectomy. I wanted something as localized as possible so I wouldn’t be putting healthy parts of my body at risk.

Following my lumpectomy, my surgeon referred me to Dr. Catheryn Yashar, a radiation oncologist who, like my surgeon, is based at Moores. Dr. Yashar assured me I was a candidate for brachytherapy and discussed different options with me, including SAVI. I was excited to learn that it was even more localized than other forms of brachytherapy I’d read about.

The other factor that convinced me to choose SAVI was the treatment schedule: two times a day for five days, and then I was completely done! I was also very pleased when Dr. Yashar told me I’d probably feel well enough to return to my normal activities, like mountain biking, soon after treatment.

It’s hard to imagine a treatment for cancer that could be more painless. There were almost no side effects. I was able to live my life pretty much as I had been — go shopping, go to a movie, or whatever.

Once the five days of treatment were up, I could go back to my active lifestyle, the doctors said.
So I did!

A week after my treatment, I took a hike to the peak of Mount San Jacinto that took six hours round-trip to complete. The trail had an elevation gain of about 2,300 feet up to the top of the mountain, which is over 10,000 feet high. I felt that my victory over the mountain symbolized my victory over cancer. That tells you all you need to know about what you can do after SAVI: You can do just about anything you want.