Carolyn – 2; Breast Cancer – 0

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Breast Cancer, Cancer
Carolyn Reedy

In 1995, when she was 48-years-old, Carolyn Reedy discovered a lump in her breast. Carolyn knew it was important to seek help since she had a strong family history of breast cancer. She went in for a mammogram at the MemorialCare Breast Center at Long Beach Medical Center, where physicians confirmed she had breast cancer.

The Breast Center specializes in the early detection of breast cancer – utilizing state-of-the-art technology for the highest level of breast imaging. The Breast Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAP-BC) and American College of Radiology because of its comprehensive care and multi-disciplinary team.

Carolyn was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells are found in the lining of the breast milk duct. She had a lumpectomy and underwent five weeks of daily radiation.

“I thought that was the end of my breast cancer journey,” says Carolyn, “but I received another curveball.”

Twenty-two years later in Jan. 2017, Carolyn came back to the Breast Center for her routine mammogram. She has been going to the Breast Center for her mammograms for 35 years. The Breast Center is housed inside the Todd Cancer Pavilion at Long Beach Medical Center, which was designed to create a calm and soothing environment for those undergoing cancer treatment, as well as those undergoing routine screenings.

Carolyn’s mammogram was performed using Tomosynthesis (3-D mammography). While traditional 2-D imaging has to go through the entire breast, 3-D imaging can examine a cross section of breast tissue – helping to find cancer that might have gone undetected.

“It’s really a breakthrough in breast imaging,” says Angela Sie, M.D., medical director, breast imaging, MemorialCare Breast Center, Long Beach Medical Center. “The difference between 2-D imaging and Tomosynthesis is similar to trying to peer through a book cover rather than opening up the book and looking at it one page at a time.”

This routine mammogram revealed more cancer. Carolyn underwent her second breast cancer surgery in February. Together, with her breast oncology surgeon, Carolyn decided that her best option was a double mastectomy.

“The entire care team is amazing and they care for me as individual,” says Carolyn. “They know that cancer affects the entire person and I really appreciated that. Cancer is never the same twice, and my care team and I developed a unique plan to work for me each time I was diagnosed. When I retired three years ago, I knew I wanted to give back.”

Carolyn volunteers weekly at the Todd Cancer Pavilion in the Ambulatory Infusion Center and the Breast Center. In addition to her weekly volunteering, Carolyn is a peer mentor with Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support & Education at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. This program pairs specially trained breast and gynecologic cancer survivors with newly diagnosed women to offer an extra layer of support.

“I’m thankful for all of the care I have received,” says Carolyn. “Long Beach Medical Center is my place.”