It was nearly Christmas 2022 when Cindy Gotoski received the call that changed her life. Cindy had just completed her annual mammogram at the MemorialCare Breast Center. The very next day, she answered her phone: it was Dr. Richard Reitherman, medical director of breast imaging.
“He was very supportive,” says Cindy. “He said they would do all they can for me, but it was an invasive and aggressive form of breast cancer.”
Cindy’s picture-perfect plans for Christmas came crashing to a halt. Yet, the team at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center stood behind her when she needed it most. The very next day, she met with Dr. Reitherman and Dr. Jane Kakkis, medical director of breast surgery.
“They moved fast in the interest of my health, but still gave me the emotional support to help me process what happened in that 72-hour whirlwind,” says Cindy.
The MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center is unique in that it offers comprehensive treatment planning conferences for newly diagnosed patients, where more than 15 different cancer specialists, clinical nurses and navigators review each patient’s case and discuss the latest therapies, including those accessible through clinical trials, to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to them.
After the conference and before her surgery, Cindy met with Dr. Amol Rao, medical oncologist, and medical director of cancer research for MemorialCare. Together, Cindy and the care team decided that a combination of breast surgery, radiation and Herceptin® – a HER2 inhibitor targeted medication therapy – was her best option.
"...They were honest, transparent and validating – and really made me feel a part of my plan of care," says Cindy.
After surgery, she began her radiation with Dr. Asif Harsolia, medical director, radiation oncology, who not only helped navigate radiation treatment but took the time to get to know her personally.
“One day after a treatment, I told the valet that I was just coming from radiation, and he took the time to pray over me,” says Cindy. “To this day, it still brings tears to my eyes – that’s just how everyone at Orange Coast Medical Center makes you feel.”
Today, Cindy encourages all women to be screened annually for breast cancer. Online scheduling is available 24/7 for new and existing patients at all nine MemorialCare Breast Centers across L.A. and Orange Counties.
Schedule your mammogram now.