The Oncotype DX played a big part in her treatment decision.
"Of all the things that could ever happen to me in my life, I never thought I would get cancer," Linda said. Still, that was her sudden reality when she was diagnosed in June 2006. "There was a shock factor there." Speaking of her initial experience and the rapid journey from diagnosis, to an MRI, to surgery, Linda called it, "a long, terrible weekend."
Linda had a mammogram exactly one year before her diagnosis that showed nothing. Then, the next one showed a 2.2 cm tumor. She saw a surgeon and had a biopsy, then received a phone call telling her it was malignant. Within a week or so, Linda had a right breast lumpectomy, and her doctors instructed her to have radiation and tamoxifen therapy.
"I was against having chemotherapy," Linda said. "My oncologist told me about a clinical trial involving the Oncotype DX assay. Although I didn't participate in the trial, I did want to have the test, and Genomic Health was invaluable in helping me get reimbursed for it. We sent off the tumor and two weeks later, I had my result—my score was 28, meaning I was at medium to high risk for cancer recurrence."
“My oncologist told me about a clinical trial involving the Oncotype DX assay.”
"Oncotype DX affected my treatment decision totally," Linda said. She noted that her surgeon and oncologist recommended chemo. Although she had been completely against it, she decided to undergo chemo because the test results indicated that she was at medium to high risk for recurrence. Linda said that she was more confident in her decision. A week after that meeting, Linda started chemotherapy.
"I shaved my hair; my attitude was, 'cancer isn’t getting it.' It had been brown. When it came back, it was silver," said Linda. "I teach third-grade religious education. I subbed one day while I had a bald head. I wore a scarf. All the kids wanted to see my bald head. A few months later, some of the same kids saw me again and said, 'Mrs. Porter, you have hair!'"
It took Linda almost a full year to get her strength back. "I'm back to working full time, as a human resources manager for an engineering firm, and doing volunteer work," said Linda. "I love entertaining and cooking. Every four months, I see my surgeon, radiologist or oncologist, then my gynecologist and family practice doctor." Linda's cancer was detected following a regular mammogram. Linda said, "be faithful to your mammograms!"
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