Generations of Breast Cancer Awareness

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Breast Cancer

Camlyn has been a Lake Forest resident her entire life. She shares a close bond with her mom and two sisters who all share a love of the water. The family spends a lot of time together enjoying concerts, trips and regular visits to their local beach and tennis club.

In the Spring of 2016, Camlyn and her family were ramping up for what would normally be another incredible summer in the sun and water. Kaitlin, Camlyn’s younger sister, who is an Olympic gold medalist in swimming as well as the family’s social director, had concerts, beach days and swim activities already on the books.

Then, Camlyn received a phone call from her mom, Jill, who told her daughters she had a lump in her breast, expressing concern she might have breast cancer. Camlyn and her sisters rushed to be by their mom’s side.

Jill knew of the MemorialCare Breast Center at Saddleback Medical Center, which is designated as a “Breast Center of Excellence” by the American College of Radiology. The Breast Center provides women, like Jill, access to care for all of their breast health needs. From breast screening, diagnostics, genetic counseling, and surgical services, the center is all-encompassing. From the day they arrived, Camlyn was impressed by the sincerity, compassion and professionalism in the care her mom received.

Gary Levine, MD, medical director of MemorialCare Breast Centers, recommended Jill undergo a biopsy, which confirmed Jill’s diagnosis of breast cancer. Although shocked, Camlyn and her sisters were confident in the breast care team’s expertise to treat their mother.

Reaching Hope

Jill responded well to her treatments and is thriving. Camlyn was once again making her summer plans, including a trip to Italy, when she realized she was overdue for her annual mammogram. She went to a local diagnostics center, which was not a dedicated breast center for her mammogram. The mammogram was normal, but given her family’s history and having dense breast tissue, a breast MRI was recommended.

Camlyn recalled Dr. Levine said that breast density is an important factor in screening for breast cancer. About half of all women undergoing screening mammography have high breast density, which is normal. Dense breast tissue means there is a greater amount of glandular tissue than there is fat, making it harder to detect small abnormalities.

Camlyn began to think about the great care her mom received at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center and was compelled to schedule her MRI there. She called Jackie Hower, MPH, RT (R)(M), certified breast care navigator at the Breast Center. The role of a breast care navigator is to provide patients with the right tools and steps, and to serve as a guide through the process.

“Jackie was instrumental in helping my mom through breast cancer. After I called, I knew I was in the best hands and should have called Saddleback Medical Center in the first place,” recalls Camlyn.

While reviewing Camlyn’s MRI, Dr. Levine found an abnormality and asked her to return for an ultrasound and possible biopsy. It turned out, Camlyn did need a biopsy, which Dr. Levine performed under MRI guidance. The needle biopsy results were rushed by the Breast Center and confirmed that Camlyn did not have breast cancer.

Better Days Ahead

“Breast screening should be a regular part of a woman’s preventive health regimen,” says Dr. Levine. “We cannot yet reliably prevent breast cancer from occurring. However, if detected early, it is an extremely curable disease. The level of care you receive at our Breast Center is unique because we only specialize in breast health. Breast care is what we are committed to, day in and day out.”

The patient experience at the Breast Center begins with peace of mind offering patients prompt results at this all-in-one facility. With offices in Laguna Hills, San Clemente and Irvine, the Breast Center offers a multi-disciplinary approach to breast health and is devoted to winning the battle against breast cancer. The center is equipped with state-ofthe- art imaging equipment, including MRI, digital mammography, 3D tomosynthesis, DEXA bone density testing and breast ultrasound. In addition, through the center’s genetic counseling and testing program, women are able to learn their personal risk profile and get preventative recommendations.

Today, Camlyn and her mother are happy to be cancer free. Camlyn was even able to enjoy her trip to Italy with her two kids and husband. Rested and full of life, she returned from Italy before summer ended to reunite with her sisters and mother, finishing the season with pool days, picnics and an 80’s concert, coordinated by Kaitlin. Camlyn is thankful for the experience to help her realize the importance of an annual screening.

“I think about my daughter and my sisters, and how important it is to get screened regularly. Saddleback Medical Center gave me comfort you can’t buy. It’s a feeling only they can provide through the care they deliver,” says Camlyn.

To learn more or to schedule a mammogram, call 1.800.MEMORIAL (1.800.636.6742) or visit memorialcare.org/sbbreast.

Gary M. Levine, MD
Featured physician:

Gary M. Levine, MD

Medical Director of MemorialCare Breast Centers
Specialties:
  • Radiology & Imaging, Breast Imaging & Radiology