Oncotype DX Stories

Penny S.

Penny credits the test with putting her back in control of her disease and life.

Penny had more treatment decisions to make but struggled to understand exactly what type of breast cancer she had.

In June 2004, at the age of 55, Penny had a mammogram that raised some questions about her right breast. Additional mammograms, including some with magnification, were inconclusive, so Penny went on with her life, enjoying retirement after working as an information systems analyst.

Then in December, during her annual gynecological exam, Penny’s doctor found a lump in her right breast. A subsequent mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy confirmed Penny had breast cancer.

"When I got the call from the surgeon, my husband and I both lost it. I thought I was dying. I felt like I had no control."

In March 2005, Penny underwent a double mastectomy, and the surgery revealed she had lobular breast carcinoma, which fortunately had not spread to her lymph nodes.

“When I got the call from the surgeon, my husband and I both lost it.”

Penny had more treatment decisions to make but struggled to understand exactly what type of breast cancer she had. Fortunately, a friend from Penny’s Bible study group worked for Genomic Health, and he explained that because her tumor was classified as lymph-node-negative, estrogen-receptor positive, she could use a test called Oncotype DX to determine the likelihood that her cancer would return.

Penny's doctor ordered the test. Her Recurrence Score result was 13, indicating that there a low risk breast cancer would return. Penny and her doctor decided she would forego chemotherapy and opted for radiation and hormonal therapy only. Penny credits the test with putting her back in control of her disease and life.

Today, Penny is healthy and busier than ever growing and selling produce at the farmers’ market, making wine with her husband and looking after over 70 animals that live on their land.

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Name: Penny S.
Age: 55
Year Diagnosed: 2004
Recurrence Score: 13

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