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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Felicia Mashburn

Breast cancer - Stage IV

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for breast cancer

Overview

My story

My first experience with breast cancer was in 1998, when I was 35 years old. My two older sisters had been diagnosed with breast cancer in their early 40s, so I had started having routine mammograms earlier than is typically recommended. That year, my mammogram showed calcifications, and because my doctor knew my family history, he did a biopsy and confirmed that I had breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and took tamoxifen for five years. In 2004, underwent a prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy and had genetic testing. I recovered from the treatment and had no visible signs of cancer for years.

Then, in 2011, more than 13 years after my first diagnosis, I found a lump on my neck and in a few places on my chest above my breast implants. A general surgeon near my home in Franklin, North Carolina, did a needle biopsy, but the results were inconclusive, even with multiple doctors examining the tissue, so I had the lumps surgically removed.

Shortly after finding the lump, I had an incident, possibly a stroke, and ended up in the emergency room. An x-ray showed pleural effusion around my lungs, with a partially collapsed lung and a paralyzed diaphragm. The diagnosis quickly became conclusive: I was having a recurrence of breast cancer.  After further testing I was told that the cancer had spread.

I had chemotherapy, a different regimen than I’d received in 1998, with the same group of doctors who’d treated me originally. I also began taking a medication for bone building.

After five months of treatment I decided to seek a second opinion.

Trying something different

I had seen commercials for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) on television and decided to call. My daughter chatted online with a representative. It became clear to me that CTCA® might be an option.

During the initial three-day consultation, the doctors I met at CTCA were willing to try something different from what others had recommended. I was sick and in bad shape, but these doctors treated me differently.

I began taking capecitabine (Xeloda) and also an estrogen-blocking drug, which helped stabilize the disease. I traveled to the facility in Goodyear, Arizona every three months for just over two years. In addition to the chemotherapy and estrogen inhibitors, I underwent seven weeks of radiation aimed at a small area in my sternum, staying in Arizona three months in late 2013 for the treatment. The time passed by quickly, in part because of the friends that I made during that time.

For a year, I stopped the estrogen inhibitor pills and took monthly injections instead. Later, when I transferred to the facility in Georgia, I added back aromatase inhibitor pills to my treatment regimen.

From despair to hope

CTCA gave me both hope and healing. Our family has so much gratitude for the care that I have received there. Now, as part of the Cancer Fighter Care Network, I can provide that same hope and encouragement to others living with cancer.  

Around the time that my doctor at CTCA told me the cancer was going into remission, I traveled with my younger daughter to Hawaii, as well as saw the Grand Canyon for the first time with my oldest daughter. The vacations with my girls were a great celebration and created special memories. My grandson was born and my son graduated from college after my last diagnosis. These are events that I’m very thankful for.

In addition to excellent care, CTCA has given me tools to cope with having cancer. Once I started to heal the tools helped me to lead a normal and active life. My family and my faith gave me the strength to keep going. Today I am feeling wonderful!