Breast Cancer Threatened Her Life, But It Didn't Win

March 3, 2022
Breast Cancer Threatened Her Life, But It Didn't Win


Adina was living a fulfilling life. She had a thriving career as a real estate agent. She was a loving wife to her husband, Fred, and a happy mother of two. She and Fred had experienced some fertility issues when trying to conceive their daughter, Camille. Camille was born premature, spending weeks in the NICU. So Adina’s children— her family— were everything to her. She had always been fiercely protective over her babies, and she had always fought hard for her family. After the devastating news of her cancer diagnosis, Adina would have to muster up the strength and courage to fight even harder. She fought to become a breast cancer survivor.

Treatment Journey

Adina was ready to embark on her treatment journey. She needed to beat this and continue to be present for her family. As she waited for the next steps, she was surprised and relieved when Dr. Swapna Ghanta, a breast surgeon formerly with BASS Medical Group, reached out. The same day she was diagnosed with this devastating disease, she found some semblance of solace in how attentive and accessible the physician was. She and Dr. Ghanta agreed to meet the very next day.

At first, Adina had some reservations about Dr. Ghanta when they met face to face. 

“Dr. Ghanta was a solo practitioner. She looked so young. She couldn’t be the surgeon! And board certified at that? She hasn’t been in practice long enough.’”

Within a matter of minutes, Adina’s feelings toward Dr. Ghanta changed. Dr. Ghanta was patient and personable. The two talked through the diagnosis and devised a recovery plan. Adina asked tons of questions, and Dr. Ghanta answered every one of them clearly and transparently. They also discussed her options— mastectomy or lumpectomy. Adina opted for the lumpectomy. They settled on a date for the surgery. By the time Adina left the office, she felt confident with the treatment plan and with having Dr. Ghanta as her surgeon.

Dr. Ghanta recalls her meeting with Adina. 

“When I first met Adina, I wanted to reassure her that she would get the best treatment possible.  We discussed how the goals of surgery would be to remove all the tumor while doing as little collateral damage as possible. We worked together and decided to move forward with lumpectomy, also known as breast conservation, in order to preserve her remaining breast tissue and sensation.”

When surgery day finally arrived, Adina was hopeful and felt a sense of peace. 

“The nurse took me to pre-op and got me settled. Dr. Ghanta came in and asked how I was feeling. She explained the procedure again and then marked me up. Soon after, the anesthesiologist came to see me. I kissed my mom and Fred. I remember rolling through pre-op on the gurney and being wheeled out the swinging doors.”

The next thing Adina remembered was being in post-op, slightly nauseous and hungry. Her husband and mother were relieved when she finally opened her eyes. The nurse checked on Adina, oriented her to her surroundings, and explained the next steps for a smooth recovery at home.

Treatment Outcome

Adina’s lumpectomy recovery went well. She was in pain but was able to stop taking her pain medication by the third day post-op. She also had lots of family support. They took great care of her, ensuring she was as comfortable as possible. As the days progressed, her pain level decreased.

Adina saw Dr. Ghanta twice after surgery. They reviewed the pathology and genetic testing results and discussed the next steps in Adina’s treatment plan. She was continuing to heal very well. The surgery was a success. 

By the end of October 2019, Adina had completed 28 radiation treatments. She went onto hormone therapy in the form of quarterly Zoladex injections and daily AIs, which will be her new normal for the next 5-7 years. She is in remission.

Life Beyond Cancer

Adina reigned victorious over this battle. She credits her medical team for working collectively to devise and execute an appropriate treatment plan. Will it be enough to keep her cancer-free? 

“I can only hope,” said Adina. “The circumstances suck, but I am truly blessed to have such caring and compassionate clinicians.”

Adina has her good days and bad days, as expected. Every so often she forgets about the cancer, and then something will trigger her. When she hits a low point, she thinks about her family. It refreshes her spirit. When things settle down, she looks forward to a nice family vacation.

For anyone going through a similar journey, she offers this piece of advice:

“Surround yourself with a positive support system while getting rid of as much negativity as possible. Don’t let anyone else decide how you feel or approach the situation. Find something to look forward to and keep reaching for it. Most importantly, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions of your medical team. It’s your life.”

BASS Cancer Care Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offer a wide range of treatment options. These options include surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies like immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment. It performs this without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT provides options. It allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.

The BASS Approach

BASS Cancer Center is part of the BASS Medical Group, with access to a multidisciplinary team of top surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as care coordinators, wellness support, and patient education resources. Our vision centers on our belief that everyone deserves access to the most advanced cancer treatments without compromising on compassionate and individualized care. We pride ourselves in working together with you to develop the best possible management plan, all the while supporting you and your families along the way.