Nina P.

Tacoma, WA
Treated with SAVI – February 2011 and October 2011


I was diagnosed the first of January of 2011—one of the worst days of my life. My surgeon, Dr. Virginia Stowell, suggested the SAVI because of the 5-day duration and targeted radiation. While I was having the treatment in February, I swore I would never do it again. But then, at my six-month follow-up mammogram, they found another cancer in the same breast. And after consulting with all my doctors and a Plastic Surgeon, believe it or not, I decided to do the SAVI treatment for a second time in October of 2011.

This is why I tell all those that say: “I would just have them both removed,” I tell them you really don’t know what you will do until you are faced with it. The second time was easier. The SAVI treatment itself was short and pretty easy on me. I was tired, but I would attribute that to having it twice a day. The hardest part about the week of treatment it is that you cannot take a shower.

My second SAVI treatment was a kind of experiment for my physicians because it was going into the same breast. The concern was maybe not having enough tissue left after the second lumpectomy. I was well informed that if there was not enough tissue, I would need a mastectomy.

I would and have told others that it was the best way to go. I liked the fact that it was only for a week and that you were not getting exposed to the radiation except in the spot it was needed. I chose to have SAVI treatment the second time because I am the kind of person that would have always wondered if it would have worked had I chose the other alternative. So far, all is well and I am 17 months cancer free and counting!

I have the best team of doctors you could ask for. They are all part of the Tacoma Washington Cancer Center at Tacoma General, part of the Seattle Cancer Care Allegiance. From physicians and all their staff, including the Physicists and Radiation Oncology nurses to the reception people, you could not find a more knowledgeable, caring, gentle and concerned team.

Dr. Stowell, my surgeon, is not only concerned with the procedures but with how you feel both physically and emotionally. Dr. Carolyn Rutter, my Radiation Oncologist, is the same: very gentle and concerned, as is Dr. Chitaley, my Oncologist. They all work as a team and communicated with each other and me well. I have been very blessed to have them.

Cancer is frightening and it’s wonderful just to know that the people who are taking care of you are as concerned as you are, along with my boyfriend who also stood by me all the way and still does. I have talked with women who SAVI was never even mentioned to them as a treatment option. I do think that more doctors need to be aware of this treatment. Thank you allowing me to share this. It is very important to me.