Despite a family history of breast cancer, learning she had three cancerous breast tumors was a shock for Marilynn Kluger-Faver.
After a long career working in the corporate offices of Staples, Marilynn retired and took time to enjoy the little things in life.
At 72 years old, Marilynn was in good health, but knew that she had a family history of breast cancer that impacted her grandmother, younger sister and two of her cousins. Aware of her increased risk, she made it a point never to skip her annual mammogram.
She enjoyed time with her loved ones, planned vacations, hiked through Rockland County’s parks and spent time with Haverstraw’s Seniors group, playing card games like mahjong and canasta with friends.
But in late summer 2019, Marilynn was dealt an unwelcome hand.
A devastating diagnosis
Following her annual mammogram, she received the call that changed everything. The mammogram and an ultrasound detected three lumps in her breast, all cancerous.
“It wasn’t totally unexpected because of my family history, but I was devastated,” Marilynn says. Immediately, she called oncoplastic surgeon Sunny Mitchell, MD, Medical Director of The Breast Center at Montefiore Nyack Hospital. Dr. Mitchell met with Marilynn right away, ordered an MRI and confirmed the diagnosis. They discussed Marilynn’s options, making sure she felt in control of her decisions.
Together, Marilynn and Dr. Mitchell decided the best course of action: three lumpectomies to remove the cancer while saving the breast. The procedure would be performed using an innovative surgical technique called oncoplastic breast surgery, offered at The Breast Center.
Dr. Mitchell specializes in these advanced techniques, which remove the cancer(s) while preserving the physical appearance of the breast.
“I could not have been happier with Dr. Mitchell,” says Marilynn. “Every step of the way, every time I went in for another test, she was there with me.” In fact, Marilynn recalls a time when she was waiting to undergo an imaging procedure and heard a knock on the door. She opened it only to see Dr. Mitchell standing there to check in on her and wish her well.
“Everyone was always confident and approachable, and they made the experience so much easier for me,” says Marilynn.
Back to real life
Following her same-day surgery in September 2019, Marilynn rested and recovered quickly, preparing for the next leg of her journey, radiation therapy. She began treatments and went through 33 sessions in all.
One year after her initial diagnosis, Marilynn is cancer-free.
Now more than ever, Marilynn advocates for other women to keep up with their breast cancer screenings, even when nothing seems amiss. Peace of mind, she says, is priceless.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” Marilynn says. “I’m excited to get back to my real life and the things I enjoy.”