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Fremont woman looks forward to new adventures while recovering from breast cancer surgery

  • Category: Cancer
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Fremont woman looks forward to new adventures while recovering from breast cancer surgery

Stacy Lopez-Crook enjoys staying active with outdoor activities like horseback riding. The 63-year-old Bay Area native also loves a good road trip. But these days her fun rides have taken a backseat while she recovers from breast cancer surgery. “It’s been scary hearing the word ‘cancer’ but at the same time I’m pretty resilient,” Stacy remarks.

Stacy always made sure to stay on top of her annual mammograms, but in 2020, due to the pandemic, her screenings were paused like many health procedures. As soon as Stacy had the opportunity to get a mammogram, she obtained a referral from her doctor and scheduled a visit to the Women’s Center at Washington Hospital Healthcare System. It was during this routine mammogram screening in 2023 where doctors detected a suspicious-looking mass deep in Stacy’s breast.

The staff at the Woman’s Center moved quickly to test the mass and Stacy underwent a biopsy. The biopsy showed that Stacy had stage 1 breast cancer. Stacy also went through genetic testing to better understand the nature of her cancer and any health risks that may impact her diagnosis. Thankfully, her genetic testing came back clean for genetic changes known to cause breast cancer. After all the tests and reviewing the results, Dr. Kranthi K. Achanta, general surgeon at Washington Hospital, recommended a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous lump. The goal of lumpectomy is to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue while maintaining the appearance of the breast. It is a less invasive surgery, so the recovery time is shorter and easier than with mastectomy. “This is a great alternative for patients with early stage breast cancer,” says Dr. Achanta. “From a surgical standpoint, we are able to deliver curative surgery where we remove all cancer cells without having to resort to a mastectomy -- which is the removal of the entire breast.”

Stacy swiftly underwent the lumpectomy in April 2023 and the procedure was successful in removing all the cancer cells. As she rests and recovers, Stacy continues to follow up with Dr. Matthew Tenold, oncologist at UCSF-Washington Cancer Center, to learn about the next steps of her care plan.

"My health care team at Washington Hospital is amazing!" Stacy says. "They always make sure I am well taken care of and answer my questions thoroughly. As scary as it is to be diagnosed with cancer, I know I’m in good hands."

Annual mammography screening beginning at age 40 is recommended. This allows women to obtain the maximum life-extending benefits. Dr. Tenold says that Stacy’s story is a good example of how routine screenings help detect cancer early, before patients have symptoms, to easily treat the condition.

"We’re happy to care for Stacy and get her the care she needed quickly. Time is of the essence with any type of cancer, especially when it comes to breast cancer," says Dr. Tenold. "In Stacy’s case, we were able to locate the cancer quickly due to the mammogram screening. Early detection truly saves lives.”

As for Stacy, she’s continuing follow-up with her doctors and staying focused on her treatment plan. She looks forward to planning her next trip and spending time with her loved ones. The best advice she can give to others who may be going through this journey is to reach out and ask for help. It’s important to maintain your physical and mental well-being.

We wish Stacy a speedy recovery and will follow up with her in the coming months to provide an update on her health journey.

Find out more information on Cancer Services at Washington Hospital Healthcare System.