Breast Cancer Patient Stories

  • Mary Jean Flannery

    Mary Jean Flannery

    When Mary Jean Flannery, known as MJ to those closest to her, felt a lump in her breast in March 2012, she made an immediate appointment with her gynecologist. After testing, MJ was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Knowing that she lived close to Fox Chase Cancer Center, she decided to get a second opinion. “I am so fortunate to live within walking distance of one of the nation’s top cancer hospitals,” says MJ.

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  • Tracy Gatto

    Tracy Gatto

    Tracy Gatto and her mom, Rita, are extremely close. After losing her father in 2008 to lung cancer, Tracy moved in with her mom. At the time, they had experienced a lot of loss to cancer. So in July 2011, when Tracy detected a lump on her right breast, this mother-daughter duo was terrified. Instinctively, Tracy, who was 28, knew something was seriously wrong. “I called my doctor right away and she sent me for a mammogram, which was followed by an ultrasound and biopsy at a community hospital,” recalls Tracy. The results confirmed her worst fears – she had breast cancer.

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  • Dina Gillis

    Dina Gillis

    The summer of 2008 should have been an exciting time for Gillis family. Dina, her husband Bill, and their 3-year old son, Christopher, were expecting an addition to their family - a new baby. But 16-weeks into her pregnancy, Dina felt a lump in her breast. She brought it to her obstetrician's attention, hoping it was related to her pregnancy. Instead, Dina was sent for an ultrasound which confirmed the lump and the need for a biopsy. Pregnant and 36, Dina learned she had Stage II breast cancer.

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  • Deborah Gleason

    Deborah Gleason

    Breast Cancer

    With a family history of breast cancer on her mother’s side, Deborah Gleason took her risk seriously. In addition to her annual mammograms beginning at age 40, she performed monthly breast self-exams on a regular basis. Her diligence paid off. In 2000, at the age 49, Deb discovered a lump in her left breast and went to her community hospital for a diagnosis. A breast surgeon performed a lumpectomy, as well as a quadrantectomy, in which about one-quarter of her breast around the tumor site was removed. 

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  • Linda Gottlieb

    Linda Gottlieb

    Linda Gottlieb has always been vigilant about getting her annual mammogram. Even though breast cancer does not run in her family, she knows the importance of screening. However, she typically does not perform a breast-self exam. In November 2008, she learned her routine mammogram was normal. Just 5 months later, she was getting out of the shower, and as she wrapped her towel around herself, Linda felt a small lump in her breast.

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