She learned about the Oncotype DX from Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.
When Vilma had a routine screening mammogram in August of 2007, it revealed an abnormality. During the following two weeks, she had a diagnostic mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy. With her diagnosis confirmed, Vilma, 48, knew she was facing surgery.
Vilma met with a general surgeon who recommended a lumpectomy, the most conservative procedure. During the surgery, he also removed a sentinel node, which was positive. This prompted a second surgery; an axillary node dissection. An additional 13 nodes were removed, all negative. The surgeon informed her that the positive sentinel node was a sign that her cancer had spread to the axilla and that her treatment plan should include chemotherapy. He referred her to an oncologist.
“The Oncotype DX test gave me a tangible way to view the benefits of chemotherapy.”
Before further treatment, however, Vilma needed to recover from her surgeries. She used this time to learn more about breast cancer treatment. She found Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book and www.komen.org especially informative. From Dr. Love’s book, Vilma learned about the Oncotype DX, which is a relatively new test, and planned to ask her oncologist about it.
During her initial consultation, her oncologist mentioned Oncotype DX. “I was excited that she recommended the test,” Vilma said. “It showed that she was familiar with current breast cancer practices and wanted to form a comprehensive treatment plan. I felt confident that I had found the right oncologist.”
Vilma’s oncologist ordered the Oncotype DX test, and her Recurrence Score result was 19, at the bottom of the intermediate-risk range of scores. Her oncologist adjusted her treatment plan on the basis of the Recurrence Score result, recommending chemotherapy treatment. Chemo was followed by radiation therapy. And because she was ER+ and PR+, she will be on hormonal therapy for five years.
“The Oncotype DX test gave me a tangible way to view the benefits of chemotherapy” Vilma stated. Now 49, Vilma is enjoying life with her husband and two children. She continues working as a speech-language pathologist, helping children in public schools improve their communication skills.
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