Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about spreading the word on prevention, treatment and research to find a cure, but it’s also about hearing from survivors. Knowing their stories and bringing them to the forefront is important. It’s important because it gives those who are currently struggling with the weight of a breast cancer diagnosis hope that there is life on the other side of the diagnosis and to let them know they are not alone.
In this last week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share one survivor’s surgical story in particular.
In March of 2011, Sandy Fertitta’s life turned upside-down. The Beaumont business woman, community leader and philanthropist had gone to nearby Houston for a day of shopping, fine dining and her annual mammogram. The mammogram showed a suspicious mass. The breast cancer diagnosis came soon after.
Like many people in the Beaumont area, when confronted with the need for cancer treatment, Fertitta’s thoughts went immediately to Houston and its world renowned medical centers. But six months earlier, she had met and befriended a young breast surgeon who had recently established his practice in Beaumont– Dr. Garrett Peel, CEO and President of Previty Clinic. After receiving the breast cancer diagnosis, Fertitta met with Peel to consider her options. She elected to have the tissue from both breasts removed, but through a surgical technique that would spare the outer skin and nipple, allowing for immediate reconstruction.
Previty Clinic is one of a growing number of clinics in the country offering the skin and nipple, areolar-sparing mastectomy with immediate breast restoration. With a small incision, this innovative breast cancer surgery leaves the skin and nipple intact, often with little to no visible scars. “For the right patient, traditional mastectomies are no longer the only treatment option for breast cancer. With this surgical innovation, we can save the skin and nipple, and offer the woman an immediate reconstruction, while encouraging a healthy attitude to battle breast cancer and win,” says Peel. At Previty Clinic’s Breast Cancer Institute, the goal is to diagnose and treat breast cancer within fourteen days, much less time than the national average. About two weeks after the discovery of Fertitta’s cancer, Peel performed the surgery and eliminated her stage one cancer. She required no chemotherapy and no radiation treatment. About receiving such world-class surgery so close to home, Fertitta says, “Staying here was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being able to have my family, friends and priests – all of them there for me, at the hospital with me, was a blessing. This type of surgery was a real gift in that I was able to keep a part of me. I never thought that was possible after getting a breast cancer diagnosis.”
Her story is only one of many and fortunately it ended happily. Fertitta was able to get the care she needed to fight and win over this disease that takes so many others.
As we wrap up Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to send a message to all those fighting for a cure. Previty Clinic stands by you in this fight! To the women who battle this terrible disease every day, the families who support them, the health care providers who lend their knowledge, compassion and care… we, at Previty Clinic, salute you!