“This disease has given me new ideas for life”
Dear friends! We continue to tell you the patients’ stories who are currently undergoing treatment at the National Medical Research Radiological Centre.
Let us remind you that this series of patient stories completes our “Patient School” project, dedicated to the World Breast Cancer Month in October 2023.
Yesterday you got acquainted with Irina’s story, and today Svetlana, a resident of the Far East, tells us her story.
Our heroine is only 38 years old, she works as a signaller on the railway.
Svetlana suspected something was wrong in the mammary gland in May 2023 and went to oncologists in Birobidzhan. There, immediately after performing minimal examination, doctors discovered cancer. By that time, the formation was already quite large – almost 8 centimeters. Svetlana knew that she wanted to be treated only in Moscow, so she asked the doctor to submit a request for a telemedicine consultation with the Federal Center. This is how our heroine ended up at P. Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Institute – branch of the National Medical Research Radiological Centre of the Ministry of health of the Russian Federation.
Here, doctors from the department of oncoplastic surgery with chemotherapy confirmed the diagnosis – right breast cancer, the second stage B. It was necessary to start treatment urgently, but not everything is so simple. “The fact is that the tumor was not just large, – explains her treating doctor, oncologist Yegor Glotov. — The formation was still multicentric, that is, it consisted of several tumor nodes in the aggregate. The process was complicated by the presence of grade 4 ptosis, that is a condition in which the breasts droop downwards.”
By discussing Svetlana’s case at a medical consultation, the first stage of treatment prescribed to her was neoadjuvant polychemotherapy.
After having completed the first course of therapy at P. Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Institute, Svetlana went home to complete the treatment and return to Moscow again, but for surgery.
Svetlana, like many heroines, said that chemistry was the most difficult test: “It was long and difficult, I had to change both externally and internally!”
But after its completion the doctors noted positive dynamics – the tumor had shrunk. That meant that Svetlana was ready for surgery.
Experienced surgeons were faced with a choice – which tactics of surgical intervention to offer the patient. “The impressive size of the mammary glands and the presence of ptosis in the patient have become quite a serious limiting factor for carrying out any reconstructive plastic intervention, where we must compare the oncological component with the aesthetic one,” – explains Egor Glotov. “Reconstruction with implants, in her case, was simply impossible and it was associated with certain risks of complications.” Then the doctors offered Svetlana removal of the mammary gland with immediate reconstruction using her own dermal-fat flap.
“We removed the breast tissue for the patient, leaving dermal-fat flaps, which are grouped together to ultimately obtain a small, lifted breast,” – explains the specialist.
This made it possible not only to get rid of the malignant tumor, maintaining aesthetic beauty, but also to minimize the risks of complications in the postoperative period. Svetlana shared that she completely trusted her doctors. “I was calm before the surgery. I was going to win. The doctors here really inspire confidence and optimism,” – she noted.
Svetlana is still in the process of recovery and rehabilitation, after which she will be prescribed a course of radiation and hormonal therapy, which she will undergo here, in National Medical Research Radiological Centre.
But her confidence and strong-willed character will definitely win. “This patient was determined to win and we will definitely succeed,”- says her doctor.
As is tradition, we asked Svetlana to tell us how this diagnosis affected her life. And this is what she answered: “My life has completely changed. Both the way of life and the attitude towards people became different. And everything is only for the better. This disease gave me new ideas for life, and I discovered a lot of new and positive things for myself!”
And, of course, we asked Svetlana to give her valuable advice to patients:
“Dear patients, do not be afraid of anything! Contact Moscow, they will not refuse you and provide such help that you will have every chance to live and be healthy!”