How Breast Thermography helped save me from breast cancer TWICE and got my life back to normal.
I’ve always tried to eat healthy and be more preventive, so I started getting breast thermograms in my early 30s. They have always come back normal, until I got an abnormal score on my right breast in 2017 at Dr. Jen Wicher’s practice, Synergy Natural Medicine Clinic in Monrovia. This led to further imaging at Huntington-Hill Imaging Center in Pasadena and a confirmed case of DCIS. I was quite surprised, because I don’t have the BRCA genes or any other major risk factors.
The biopsy found DCIS with micro-invasion, the smallest amount of invasive cancer before Stage 1. And because it was small, I had options. No radiation or chemotherapy for me! Even better, I was able to find a breast surgeon who could do a nipple-and-skin-sparing mastectomy at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and save the outside of my right breast while I had weekly Vitamin-C IV’s and other care at Dr. Wicher’s Clinic.
At that point, I was feeling like thermography saved my life. Most women don’t even get mammograms until age 50! I was also able to do breast reconstruction surgery with stem cells, so I only have a small scar. Honestly, it almost looks like nothing has happened to me at all. And for awhile, I was happy to have everything feel back to normal, but it was not to last.
Two years later, I scored abnormal on a thermogram of my other (left) breast. Good grief! I brought my thermogram to my radiologist, who told me it was in the same area where there was a small cluster of microcalcifications they considered too small to be significant and labeled them “probably benign”. They of course didn’t tell me this. This time, I demanded a biopsy.
The biopsy from my left breast came back as DCIS nuclear grade 3. Grade 3 is the highest grade of ductal carcinoma in situ. I was able to have it removed and the same nipple sparing mastectomy and breast reconstruction at Cedars-Sinai and more IVs and support from Dr. Wicher. This is a drastic difference compared to many women who have experienced horror stories in breast cancer surgeries, leaving them scarred and deformed for life.
Breast cancer caught early is very treatable without deformity. Fear of disfigurement scares many women away from early detection. Today, reconstruction can even be done with natural tissue using stem cell technology. It pays to take responsibility and control over your own care.
I hope my story can educate women to be their own advocates in healthcare and teach them about non-disfiguring breast cancer surgeries, including the nipple-and-skin-sparing mastectomy and breast reconstruction with stem cells. For me, it all started with a thermogram.
Jen Waters is a Syracuse University Newhouse Scholar with the Henry J. Wolff Prize for journalism. She is a musician and a writer in Los Angeles. www.jenwaters.com.