Kate Brinegar-Cowan knew that along with being a DES daughter, having taken estrogen for several years, and her family history, she was at an increased risk of breast cancer. So she had always been proactive.
“Breast cancer has taken every woman in my family.” Kate said. “As women, we're told to establish a history with our chosen mammogram facility so that should anything appear from one mammogram to the next, it can be caught early.”
She did that.
In 2007, Kate had a mammogram before leaving for Christmas vacation, and returned with unusual growing pain in her left breast. She consulted her insurance doctor, who sent her to a surgeon at Henry Mayo, Gregory Senofsky, MD, who performed a biopsy. The biopsy proved to be negative, but her pain only increased, so Dr. Senofsky scheduled a guided ultrasound at the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center with Daniel Kirsch, MD.
During the ultrasound, Dr. Kirsch took a second biopsy. Kate also asked for an MRI, the latest, cutting edge technology being used for detection at the time. Both diagnosis confirmed Stage 2 breast cancer.
“When I heard I had cancer, it felt like having the rug pulled out from under me. I was completely lost.”
Kate, a Stevenson Ranch resident, received support from staff and physicians at the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center. She described them as empowering and pro woman.
“They were all gentle, loving, and kind, and gave me the support I needed for that very difficult time. I was so glad to have them.”
Physicians stayed on top of the situation and also conducted a DNA test which showed that Kate would not need chemotherapy. She underwent six and a half weeks of radiation therapy and has been cancer-free since.
Kate is a big believer in Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. She feels that Henry Mayo gives the community access to doctors and testing that can save their lives. And to this day, Kate swears that “Sheila R. Veloz saved my life.”
NOTE: Kate, an executive casting director who has worked in film and television, plans to make a film about breast cancer.