Coworker's advice leads to lifesaving cancer diagnosis
Wendy Silverstein, breast cancer, Good Samaritan Medical Center
"Upon learning that I actually had a very aggressive stage-four cancer, I was overwhelmed by fear."
When Wendy Silverstein's co-worker recommended that she had her annual breast exam at Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Breast Institute she never imagined the advice would save her life.
"Aware that I was due for my next check-up, I decided to follow her advice and give the center a try," Wendy says.
The Breast Institute used a 3D mammogram system that can detect a tumor sooner than other mammogram machines.
"On the day of my appointment, Dr. Sandra Mondro, performed a sonogram and a diagnostic mammogram, and to my dismay, discovered I had a very large 5.3 cm tumor in my left breast," Wendy says.
After the breast exam, Dr. Mondro performed a biopsy. The tumor was malignant. Immediately, Wendy was sent to Dr. Elizabeth McKeen, one of the hospital’s top oncologists. Dr. McKeen ordered a PET scan for Wendy. The news wasn't so good. Wendy had stage-four breast cancer.
As a type of cancer with a high fatality rate, Wendy's tumor had metastasized beyond her breast into other parts of her body, including her liver and spine.
"This discovery shocked me as I had the same tests performed elsewhere just nine months earlier and received a clean bill of health," Wendy says. "Upon learning that I actually had a very aggressive stage-four cancer, I was overwhelmed by fear."
Two weeks after being diagnosed, Wendy received her first chemotherapy session. The treatment took its toll on Wendy's body. She was admitted to Good Samaritan Medical Center.
"When I arrived, I was extremely weak, barely able to raise my body out of my own bed," Wendy says. "For the week I was there, I was as comfortable as I possibly could be in my given situation, consoled by the fact that I could trust their experience and judgment."
The cancer went into full remission after nine treatments of chemotherapy. In addition, Wendy had the tumor removed by Dr. Kathleen Minnick, a general surgeon with expertise in breast diseases.
Wendy's co-worker help saved Wendy's life by sharing her story of surviving breast cancer. So it's not surprising that Wendy makes the same recommendation when asked about her fight with cancer.
"Whenever asked about my cancer, I am highly confident in referring Good Samaritan’s Breast Institute," Wendy says.
Now that she's made a full recovery, Wendy is back at work and living a healthy, full life.
"Not only will I be able to go back to work as a legal administrator, but I can spend more quality time with the most important people in my world, my husband and my daughter," Wendy says.