After Coree’s surgery, she and her oncologist discussed the Oncotype DX breast cancer test.
In 2009, Coree H., a flight attendant and mother of three in Toronto, had her annual mammogram. When the results came back negative, she and her family were relieved. Her mother had lost a hard battle with breast cancer and for Coree, there was always a lingering fear that she too would be diagnosed. Later that year at her annual physical, due to Coree’s dense breast tissue and family history, her physician ordered a precautionary MRI. Unlike the mammogram, the results from her MRI revealed a 1.5 centimeter tumor. When her tumor was biopsied, breast cancer was confirmed. Looking back, Coree was grateful for her doctor’s persistence. “In my case, I was incredibly lucky because my doctor insisted I receive additional screening. My journey was significantly altered due to her foresight.”
After Coree’s surgery, she and her oncologist discussed the Oncotype DX breast cancer test. At the time, her health plan in Ontario, Canada did not cover the diagnostic test, but Coree was not deterred as she wanted to understand the individual characteristics of her tumor. “I’m not sure why, but when my doctor explained that my test results would come back in numerical form, ranging from 0-100, with a zero being the best case scenario, I started focusing on the number 13 - my daughter’s soccer jersey number. “ When the test came back, she and her doctor had a wonderful surprise: her Recurrence Score result was a 13.
“My treatment plan was changed due to the additional information provided by the Oncotype DX breast cancer test.”
“What I learned from Oncotype DX, is that I had a low risk of breast cancer recurrence. Receiving a low Recurrence Score meant that I would derive little or no benefit from chemotherapy. The test gave me a great deal of confidence to fight the same disease that took my mother. It was the best news I could receive.”
As one of the first patients in Canada to benefit from the Oncotype DX test, Coree is an advocate for other early-stage breast cancer patients who face similar treatment decisions. “My treatment plan was changed due to the additional information provided by the Oncotype DX breast cancer test, and I think this information should be available to every qualified patient.”
In early 2010, six months after Coree fought unsuccessfully to have her own test reimbursed by her health plan, the Ontario Health Insurance Program began paying for the test. Although Coree paid for the test herself, she is delighted that other women in her province will now have access to Oncotype DX. “I’m thrilled that other breast cancer patients will be able to benefit from this information!”
Between her 23-year career as a flight attendant and her three teenage girls, Coree is as busy as ever. She and her family love to travel. When she’s not flying, most of her time is spent shuttling the girls between competitive soccer, gymnastics or cheerleading. “I adore my girls so much and am so relieved that they didn’t have to see me suffer through chemotherapy, and that I was able to keep in-step with their lives.”
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