Breast cancer survivor’s message to others: Get screened

By The Health News Team | August 7, 2023
Carly Ferry of San Diego at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns

Carly says she is grateful to the care team for their exceptional compassion and support.

Carly Ferry’s life took an unexpected turn while getting dressed one morning. As her arm brushed against her breast, she felt a small lump. Concerned about her family history of breast cancer, Carly, then 37, immediately called her OBGYN.

After undergoing various tests, the cause of Carly's discomfort was determined — and devastating: She had breast cancer. Carly couldn't believe her health had taken such a drastic turn.

The journey begins

Carly attended her first appointment with Dr. Noran Barry, a Sharp Rees-Stealy surgical oncologist affiliated with Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns and Sharp Memorial Hospital. As she listened to Dr. Barry discuss the diagnosis, she began to feel the gravity of the situation.

"When Dr. Barry explained everything to me, I was shocked and filled with worry," Carly recalls. “But her empathy and knowledge made me feel like I wasn't alone in this battle. I had hope.”

Dr. Barry understood Carly’s concerns and explained the treatment process in detail. "My goal is to offer patients not only medical expertise but also compassionate support throughout their journey," says Dr. Barry. "I want to work together with my patients to develop a plan and address any concerns or fears they might have.”

Having lost both her grandmother and great-grandmother to breast cancer, Carly was determined to fight the disease. Due to the size and extent of the cancerous mass, she underwent a double mastectomy to minimize the risk of recurrence.

Carly’s post-surgery pathology report revealed two types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer, which affects the milk ducts and breast tissue; and invasive lobular carcinoma, a type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules) of the breast. The report’s findings supported Carly’s life-saving decision to remove both breasts.

Lessons learned — and shared

After the double mastectomy, which was followed by chemotherapy, Carly had reconstructive surgery. She's happy with the outcome and has recently finished her radiation treatment.

Reflecting on her journey, Carly says she learned the importance of maintaining a positive mindset in the face of adversity.

"Starting chemotherapy, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but losing my hair was probably one of the toughest moments in my entire journey,” Carly says. “I understood the need to stay strong and not give in to negative thoughts. It's easy to lose hope, but I have a supportive circle of friends and family who helped me through my toughest days.”

Carly says she is also grateful to the care team for their exceptional compassion and support. Throughout the process, she felt their passion for their work was evident in their willingness to guide and answer questions, which greatly contributed to her peace of mind.

She joins Dr. Barry in encouraging all women to prioritize their health, undergo regular screenings and seek medical attention if they notice any changes. Carly hopes her story reminds others about the significance of regular check-ups and the power of early detection.

"Carly's journey showcases the importance of early detection and taking proactive measures against breast cancer," says Dr. Barry. “Her resilience and determination are truly inspiring.”

Learn more about breast cancer treatment and screenings at Sharp HealthCare.


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