Meet Dawn

I feel great and I have a great future ahead of me

Because of her family history, Dawn knew at some point in her life she would be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her nurse navigator, Andrea Nason, RN, OCN recommended Dawn undergo genetic testing for the BRCA gene. Joe Chan, MD, chief of Women’s Imaging at UPMC Hamot, says this service is offered to patients such as Dawn who are considered high risk.

When Dr. Chan called Dawn with her biopsy results, “I could tell from the inflection in his voice how hard it was for him to deliver that news. It made me feel very much like a person, and not just a ‘case.’”

Thanks to advancements in breast imaging, such as breast tomosynthesis, breast cancer can now be detected earlier. Breast tomosynthesis can find very small tumors in very dense breast tissue, enabling breast cancer patients to be diagnosed and treated sooner. UPMC Hamot is the only hospital in Erie County, PA, to offer tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography.

Early detection means patients may just need a lumpectomy to remove a breast tumor, rather than lose a whole breast to a mastectomy. Dawn’s genetic counselor and surgeon helped her determine the course of action that was right for her.

“Every woman deserves the best treatment, the best care, and the best testing in their own neighborhood. I feel great and I have a great future ahead of me.”