FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Nobody knows their body better than them. And when Clare Silveira says she felt a small lump under her arm, it was her fast action that brought her to the community cancer institute where she says the team stood by her side and saved her life.
“I was lying in bed, watching TV, and all of a sudden, I felt this itch underneath my arm; and I felt this lump and I was kind of thinking to myself ‘What is this? Is it really a lump?'” she said.
In February of 2023, Clare Silveira found a lump in her breast and immediately called the Marjorie E. Radin Breast Care Center at Clovis community to move up her yearly mammogram. There, she underwent a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound
“After the ultrasound, the radiologist Dr. Sides came in and he told me that they found a suspicious, looking lymph node and they saw the tumor,” said Clare.
Clare had a biopsy done on the lymph node and tumor. and one week later, received the results.
“I’m looking at your test results from the biopsy, and I just wanted to let you know that you do have breast cancer.”
Diagnostic Radiologist Dr. Christopher Czaplicki confirmed she had invasive ductal carcinoma.
“I think I was in disbelief. I was in shock,” Claire said.
Clare’s nurse navigator Julie helped her set up an appointment with the team at community cancer institute.
“That’s where I met the team of doctors that were going to be taking care of me,” Clare said.
Clare would soon have to undergo a series of appointments and tests but thankfully with the community cancer institute, everything can be done under one roof.
“When you get a cancer diagnosis, your mind essentially goes blank. It’s hard enough to wake up and to know where you are suppose to be and when but to have everybody under the same roof or in the same system, located next to each other, is tremendously important,” said Dr. Dana Holwitt, Surgical Oncology, Community Health Partners.
Dr. Dana Holwitt is the surgical oncologist who performed Clare’s lumpectomy, removing three lymph nodes.
“I don’t say I took care of her; she was my patient, I look at all my patients as my partners in their care because it truly is. We are a team,” she said.
After surgery, Clare met with her medical oncologist doctor Michael Moffit to determine if chemotherapy was needed.
“Dr. Moffett her medical oncologist did a D-X test and found that there was no indication for chemotherapy,” said Dr. Brent Kane, Radiation Oncology, Community Health Partners.
Radiation Oncologist Dr. Brent Kane collaborated with Dr. Moffett to create a radiation treatment plan for Clare to have 16 rounds of radiation.
“Radiation therapy is truly a team approach. We have physicists, we have dosimetrists, we have nurses that are oncology trained and certified and we also have board certified radiation therapists,” said Dr. Brent Kane.
And after her final radiation session, Clare got to ring the bell with coworkers and friends cheering her on.
“I am doing great, and I am so thankful,” she said.
She attributes her recovery to not only having state-of-the-art, individualized breast care close to home but a team that supported her every step of the way.
“The bottom line is, that first of all, the two biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older,” said Dr. Holwitt.
Clare says she hopes sharing her story will inspire others and remind them they are not alone.
“I am very guilty of not doing self-exams, but now I know the importance of it because feeling that lump myself, I really do believe, helped me. It saved my life.”