February 25, 2019
Breast cancer patient Jane Ann Williams pleased with her results
Jane Ann Williams was 58 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, at age 60, she has survived chemo, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, and she just returned from a family vacation in Destin, Florida during Hurricane Irma.
Waves of fear
In November 2015, Jane Ann’s busy life as a real estate agent, wife, mother and grandmother was interrupted. A suspicious spot showed up on her annual mammogram.
Jane Ann met with oncologist Manana Elia, MD, at The University of Kansas Cancer Center in Lee’s Summit. After completing a biopsy and genetic testing, Dr. Elia shared the results: triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma and the inherited BRCA2 gene mutation. “I got the double whammy,” said Jane Ann.
Suddenly, all the cancer in her family made sense. Her mother died of ovarian cancer. Her grandmother died of breast cancer. An aunt died of pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Elia prescribed six rounds of chemotherapy. During the next 4 months, Jane Ann lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, but she says it was all worthwhile. The chemo shrunk her tumor to the point that it was no longer detectable on a scan. Then, on Cinco de Mayo in 2016, breast surgeon Christa Balanoff, MD, performed Jane Ann’s double mastectomy.
Not long after her diagnosis, Jane Ann met with breast plastic surgeon, Michelle M. De Souza, MD. “My goal is to give breast cancer patients something to look forward to. I want them to know they can often regain their original shape or even improve on it,” said Dr. De Souza.
Mastectomy patients can choose larger or smaller breasts. They can opt for implant-based or tissue-based reconstruction. They can even lose some of the fat from their bellies or thighs to help shape the new breasts.
Not every woman chooses breast reconstruction. “I never push a patient to get reconstruction,” said Dr. De Souza. “There are women who prefer to use a prosthetic or a mastectomy bra with an insert. Also, there are women who choose to remain flat.”
I wanted to be the same size I was before cancer. The results are fabulous. – Jane Ann