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Jenny - Breast Cancer

Jenny - Breast Cancer

Jenny is a beautiful young mother from Oregon who was diagnosed with breast cancer and came to our center for proton therapy. Learn more about Jenny's story by reading her thoughtful answers to our questions!

How did you discover you had cancer? Tell us your story.

Shortly before my 39th birthday, I noticed a tiny “dimple” in the skin on my left breast. I couldn't feel a lump, so I assumed it was probably nothing. When it didn't go away over the next month or so, that "little voice in my head" told me to be "better safe than sorry" and have it checked out; I still assumed it was nothing serious. I wasn't even 40 years old yet, with no family history of breast cancer, so there was discussion if I should even have a mammogram or not. It was finally decided that I should, which led to a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound a few weeks later. After biopsy confirmation, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I had two tumors in my breast, as well as metastatic disease in my  lymph nodes and sternum.  

How did you find out about proton therapy?

After I finished eight cycles of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, we began planning for radiation. After several consultations it became evident that traditional radiation would put my heart and lungs at risk (especially having left-sided breast cancer). This was a risk we felt wasn't necessary, if there was a better option available. My surgeon had referred other patients to SCCA Proton Therapy Center and recommended it as an option. After doing some research, and then meeting with Dr. Fang, we knew it was the right treatment and would spare my heart and lungs the potentially harmful effects of other forms of radiation.  

Jenny during chemo treatments.

Jenny and her proton therapy team.

What will you remember most from your treatments at SCCA Proton Therapy Center?

I will always remember the amazing team at SCCA Proton Therapy Center, and the compassionate care they provided. The doctors, therapists, nurses, and all of the other wonderful people there, made receiving radiation treatments easy. My family and I felt welcomed, and I treasure the memories and friendships I made during my time there. It is a beautiful facility, and at times, it didn't seem like I was even there for cancer treatment. The staff goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable, and I'm so grateful to have met them all.  

What are your hobbies? Were you able to continue during treatment?

I have always enjoyed photography and had my own photography business for many years. I was very lucky that my two sons, ages nine and fourteen, and husband were able to stay with me in Seattle during my 36 treatments. Proton therapy was the easiest part of my treatments. I had minimal side effects and was able to enjoy Seattle and the surrounding area with my family. We visited several museums, the Space Needle, waterfronts and restaurants. We got to see Seattle on Christmas (we were surprised there was snow), and to celebrate our oldest son's birthday there. I photographed my family at many Seattle landmarks and they are treasured photos and memories. We also enjoy hiking, camping and pretty much anything outdoors.  

Tell us something interesting about you that would surprise your treatment team! Or tell us what you plan to do now that you are finished with treatment.

My treatment team was surprised to hear I have been married to my husband for almost 21 years and that I'm a huge football fan!  

Packers fans!

Jenny's lovely family.

Now that my active treatments are behind me, we are settled back in southern Oregon and keeping busy with our sons' activities. My most recent scans showed "no evidence of active disease" and I am so thankful for the treatments I've received. We have been camping, hiking, and watching our sons play baseball and shoot archery. I will be forever grateful to the amazing staff at SCCA Proton Therapy Center.