For the past 24 years, Lisa Dale, 53, of Coto de Caza, has been a dedicated
supporter of women’s health. From donating funds, competing in a
three-day, 60-mile walk twice, to serving as board chair of the Valiant
Women Group at
Mission Hospital, she has always felt a calling to help advance resources to improve early
detection of breast cancer and find a cure.
In fact, Lisa’s company, Seabreeze Management Company, has been the
title sponsor for the annual Valiant Women Luncheon for years. The funds
raised by this event helped Mission Hospital purchase a third tomosynthesis
(3D mammography) machine for the
Women’s Wellness Center. However, Lisa never expected that the very machine her efforts helped
fund would ultimately save her life. After visiting the Women’s
Wellness Center for her annual mammogram in November 2014, doctors discovered
Lisa had breast cancer.
“For years, I had been passionate about raising awareness for breast
cancer and never imagined that I would be fighting my own battle,”
said Lisa. “As scary and upsetting as it is to be told you have
cancer, the excitement my doctors expressed when they caught my cancer
in its earliest stages and their confidence in my full recovery, overshadowed
any sadness I might have felt.”
Because tomosynthesis produces more detailed and accurate images of the
breast, it allows doctors to more effectively pinpoint the size, shape
and location of abnormalities that may be hidden using 2D mammography
alone. Tomosynthesis provides doctors the ability to look through and
around tissue structures they weren’t able to see before. In Lisa’s
case, the 2D mammogram looked normal, but the tomosynthesis images clearly
showed a small tumor.
“Until a cure is found, early detection remains the most powerful
tool we have against breast cancer, and tomosynthesis finds 41 percent
more invasive cancers than 2D mammography alone,” said
Stephen Simon, MD, board-certified diagnostic radiologist at Mission Hospital. “It
might have been several years until Lisa’s hard-to-locate cancer
would have been visible on the traditional 2D mammography image. At that
point, the cancer would have had a chance to grow and possibly spread,
making it harder to treat and reducing her chance of a full recovery.”
Immediately after Lisa’s cancer was detected, Mission Hospital’s
multidisciplinary clinical team, including her radiologist, surgeon, oncologist,
nurse navigator and genetic counselor, began working collaboratively to
help her through her diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Kenneth Kushner, MD, board-certified general surgeon at Mission Hospital, first counseled
Lisa about her treatment options and performed surgery to remove her cancer.
“Through surgery, we hope to eradicate cancer by completely removing
it,” said Dr. Kushner. “Surgery also helps us determine the
exact type, size and extent of cancer so other members of the care team
have all the information needed for further treatment and recovery.”
“Due to early detection and genetic testing of the tumor itself,
Lisa has been able to avoid chemotherapy,” said
George Miranda, MD, board-certified medical oncologist at Mission Hospital. “Once surgery
was completed and we knew more about her cancer, I worked closely with
Lisa to choose the most appropriate therapies to minimize her risk for
recurrence. By finding the cancer early, Lisa is able to treat it with
radiation and oral medicine — something that might not have been
possible without such optimal screening technology.”
While Lisa’s breast cancer journey is ongoing and hasn’t been
easy, she finds comfort in knowing that a machine she helped bring to
Mission Hospital is making a difference in the lives of many women.
“Since the prognosis for breast cancer is better the earlier it is
diagnosed, tomosynthesis has given me and many others a chance at a full
recovery — something we may not have had otherwise,” Lisa said.
Current guidelines recommend women receive annual mammograms starting at
age 40, even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.
A tomosynthesis exam will not feel any different than a standard mammogram.
The machine looks similar, but rather than staying still, the X-ray tube
moves in an arc to acquire a 3D rendering of the entire breast, which
allows radiologists to see areas from all angles.
To schedule a mammogram at the Mission Hospital Women’s Wellness
Center, call (949) 347-6062. Learn more about the
Mission Hospital Cancer Center. Learn more about
Dr. Simon. Learn more about
Dr. Kushner. Learn more about
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.