After devastating breast cancer diagnosis, patient says, “You have to stay positive”

After devastating breast cancer diagnosis, patient says,

Kathy McCarthy and her husband, Mike, were devastated when Kathy was diagnosed with a high-grade breast cancer.

But throughout months of treatment, including a lumpectomy, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiation therapy, they remained optimistic.

“You have to stay positive,” Mrs. McCarthy said. “And have your family and friends around. A support group really helps.”

Mrs. McCarthy, who lives in Homer Glen, Illinois, was treated by Loyola Medicine’s clinically integrated breast cancer team.

Loyola is among a select group of centers that offer patients a complete diagnosis and care plan in one visit at one location.

On the same day, Mrs. McCarthy and her husband met with her entire medical team, including surgical, medical and radiation oncologists.

“They bring it to your level to let you understand everything,” said Mr. McCarthy, Kathy’s husband of 42 years. They have three adult sons. Patients are encouraged to bring family members.

Breast cancer specialists meet in a patient-care review session to discuss the case. After reaching a consensus on the best treatment plan, the team meets with the patient and family to discuss the recommended course of treatment.

“Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be very, very hard to digest initially,” said surgical oncologist Faaiza Vaince, MD, who performed Mrs. McCarthy’s lumpectomy. “They will hear a lot of information that can be overwhelming.”

Mrs. McCarthy’s treatments were successful and there are no signs of cancer. “After the last radiation session, my whole family took me out to dinner to celebrate,” she said. “It was wonderful to be done with it.”

But Mrs. McCarthy said her chemotherapy and radiation were not as difficult as she expected. “I had no side effects other than losing my hair,” she said.

Retired and cancer-free, Mrs. McCarthy plans to travel and have fun with her family and friends.

Mr. McCarthy added, “She got through this and hopefully it’s all behind us now, and the future will be nothing but bright.”

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News source: Loyola Medicine. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
Figure legend: This image is credited to Loyola Medicine.