Not Alone During This Journey
October 31, 2022
When Lishawna Kinney, a 47-year-old mother of three from Maysville, noticed two lumps in her right breast while taking a shower she called her family physician Dr. Audrey Spencer immediately to make an appointment for the same day. She was referred to Meadowview Regional Medical Center for her first ever mammogram.
“Finding the lumps in my breast scared me,” said Lishawna. “Then I thought maybe I was just imagining it and there was nothing. I guess I was in denial and disbelief.”
Lishawna was referred to Dr. Charlie Clarke, diagnostic radiologist at Meadowview Regional Medical Center, for a 3D mammogram. A 3D mammogram is a type of digital mammogram which uses advanced technology to take images of breast tissue from different angles and combine them to create a more complete and accurate image of the breast than is possible with regular 2D digital mammography.
Women in the US have a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. Women age 40 or older should get a mammogram every year as this simple, and often free, screening helps to detect breast cancer early, when the odds of successful treatment are highest. Having a 3D mammogram can improve cancer detection by up to 40%.
“Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms,” explains Dr. Charlie Clarke. “If you put off your mammograms until you notice something such as a lump, at that point the cancer may be more advanced.”
After suspicious findings in her 3D mammogram, Lishawna underwent a breast ultrasound to further confirm what she already suspected - breast cancer. This type of diagnostic ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of structures within the body and then those images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and directing treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions, including breast cancer.
After her mammogram and ultrasound, Lishawna had a breast biopsy, a technique used to remove a small portion of breast tissue that can then be evaluated under a microscope by a pathologist at Meadowview Regional Medical Center.
Lishawna was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and made the very difficult and personal decision to undergo a bilateral mastectomy in March at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, KY. While recovering from surgery, she completed 13 rounds of chemotherapy and then, in September 2021, transferred her care to the Meadowview Cancer Treatment Center to undergo 25 radiation treatments.
“Lishawna had breast cancer. She had 2 lumps in the right breast and decided to have a bilateral mastectomy,” said Dr. Shehata, Radiation Oncologist at Meadowview Cancer Treatment Center. “The cancer was not in her left breast but was at two sites in right breast and spread to multiple draining lymph nodes on the right side. We did radiation therapy in her lymph nodes and right chest wall. Mrs. Kinney had 5 weeks of treatment. “
When it came time to decide where to have treatment, Lishawna chose Meadowview Cancer Treatment Center so that she could remain close to home and cut down on travel time to and from her therapy appointments. Lishawna found the staff at Meadowview Cancer Treatment center to be wonderful during her radiation therapy. The treatment visits were comfortable and pleasant, and the employees were friendly and caring.
“Each staff member at the Cancer Treatment Center would take the time to help and ask how I was doing,” describes Lishawna. “They were always positive and encouraging. They get to know you, if they don't already!”
“Lishawna was faced with one of the worst medical situations for a female and she was still able to maintain such a positive outlook and attitude during her journey,” shared Nicole Rose, RN, Oncology Nurse at Meadowview Cancer Treatment Center who got to know Lishawna during her radiation treatment. “She is such an inspiration to others who may find themselves in similar situation.”
“Cancer is scary, no matter what type or what stage,” explains Lishawna. “Through my journey, I have grown stronger and more grateful. My family has always been close, but we have grown stronger and value each other so much more. We take small things for granted in life sometimes and cancer or any scary diagnosis is a true eye opener to what is important and how fragile life can be.”
“She handled treatment well with minimal reaction,” stated Dr. Shehata. “Lishawna healed well and has no evidence of recurrence. She was always accepting of the discussion with the team of doctors and shared in decision making. All through her treatment she always was smiling. She had a positive attitude and was always hopeful.”
“You're never alone during this journey,” Lishawna encourages. “My faith has grown, and I took comfort in knowing that I always had a large group of wonderful people praying and giving me the strength to overcome and endure each and every day during the treatment process. Keep up with routine checkups and if anything doesn't seem right go be seen.”
“I truly believe there is a reason and purpose for each and every obstacle in our lives,” shares Lishawna. “This journey has not always been easy but has made me stronger in so many ways!”
To schedule your 3D screening mammogram, please call 833.248.1274. To learn more about oncology services, visit us online at MeadowviewRegional.com/Cancer-Services.