HER2+ breast cancer survivor shares hope

When Dorothy Paterson discovered a lump in her right breast while showering in 1998, she didn’t believe it at first. “I tried to wish it away, but then felt it again the next day,” she says. “I’d had a clear mammogram just the year before, but something was not quite right.” So, Dorothy went to her general practitioner. After a number of tests, he diagnosed her with invasive ductal carcinoma. Dorothy knew exactly what to do next. She had heard positive stories about MD Anderson for years, and several of her friends urged her to make an appointment here immediately. An HER2+ breast cancer diagnosis At MD Anderson, Dorothy received additional testing, which revealed she had a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer known as HER2+. The tumor in Dorothy’s right breast measured 5×8 centimeters (or 2” x 3¼”). It had reached stage III in less than a year. But MD Anderson offered Dorothy treatment — and more importantly, hope. “I will never forget that momentous day,” she says. “My parents were babysitting on Jan. 15, 1998, when my husband and I went for my first appointment. And when we came home, they were so confused because we were all smiles. My mother asked, ‘So, you don’t have cancer?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do. But we have found the right place and the right doctor. He will leave no stone unturned to give me the best quality of care possible.’” Starting breast cancer treatment at MD Anderson Dorothy had a bilateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction. She also had 27 lymph nodes removed, two of which were cancerous. After...

HER2+ breast cancer survivor shares hope

When Dorothy Paterson discovered a lump in her right breast while showering in 1998, she didn’t believe it at first. “I tried to wish it away, but then felt it again the next day,” she says. “I’d had a clear mammogram just the year before, but something was not quite right.” So, Dorothy went to her general practitioner. After a number of tests, he diagnosed her with invasive ductal carcinoma. Dorothy knew exactly what to do next. She had heard positive stories about MD Anderson for years, and several of her friends urged her to make an appointment here immediately. An HER2+ breast cancer diagnosis At MD Anderson, Dorothy received additional testing, which revealed she had a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer known as HER2+. The tumor in Dorothy’s right breast measured 5×8 centimeters (or 2” x 3¼”). It had reached stage III in less than a year. But MD Anderson offered Dorothy treatment — and more importantly, hope. “I will never forget that momentous day,” she says. “My parents were babysitting on Jan. 15, 1998, when my husband and I went for my first appointment. And when we came home, they were so confused because we were all smiles. My mother asked, ‘So, you don’t have cancer?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do. But we have found the right place and the right doctor. He will leave no stone unturned to give me the best quality of care possible.’” Starting breast cancer treatment at MD Anderson Dorothy had a bilateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction. She also had 27 lymph nodes removed, two of which were cancerous. After...