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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

After Devastating Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Patient Says, "You Have to Stay Positive"

Portrait of Loyola Medicine patient Kathy McCarthy

MAYWOOD, IL –  Kathy McCarthy and her husband, Mike, were devastated when Kathy was diagnosed with a high-grade breast cancer.

But throughout months of treatment, including a lumpectomy, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiation therapy, they remained optimistic.

“You have to stay positive,” Mrs. McCarthy said. “And have your family and friends around. A support group really helps.”

Watch Mrs. McCarthy's story.

Mrs. McCarthy, who lives in Homer Glen, Illinois, was treated by Loyola Medicine’s clinically integrated breast cancer team. Loyola is among a select group of centers that offer patients a complete diagnosis and care plan in one visit at one location. On the same day, Mrs. McCarthy and her husband met with her entire medical team, including surgical, medical and radiation oncologists.

“They bring it to your level to let you understand everything,” said Mr. McCarthy, Kathy’s husband of 42 years. They have three adult sons. Patients are encouraged to bring family members.

Breast cancer specialists meet in a patient-care review session to discuss the case. After reaching a consensus on the best treatment plan, the team meets with the patient and family to discuss the recommended course of treatment.

“Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be very, very hard to digest initially,” said surgical oncologist Faaiza Vaince, MD, who performed Mrs. McCarthy’s lumpectomy. “They will hear a lot of information that can be overwhelming.”

Mrs. McCarthy’s treatments were successful and there are no signs of cancer. “After the last radiation session, my whole family took me out to dinner to celebrate,” she said. “It was wonderful to be done with it.”

But Mrs. McCarthy said her chemotherapy and radiation were not as difficult as she expected. “I had no side effects other than losing my hair,” she said.

Retired and cancer-free, Mrs. McCarthy plans to travel and have fun with her family and friends.

Mr. McCarthy added, “She got through this and hopefully it’s all behind us now, and the future will be nothing but bright.”

About Loyola Medicine

Loyola Medicine is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 92 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities - that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.