Do you have a Breast Cancer story you’d like to share? Email us at email@example.com! TAKING ALL THE RIGHT PRECAUTIONS One in seven American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, yet no woman expects to be the one. Sarasota resident Lydia Buglino certainly didn’t. “I was taught hard work and perseverance would overcome any obstacle,” Buglino said, “but I never expected the obstacle to be cancer.” In early 2001, during a routing physical, Buglino’s physician ordered a baseline mammogram as a precaution based on her family history, an aunt and cousin had been previously diagnosed. The test revealed a small mass in her left breast. The radiologist eased her fears, telling her it may simply be a fibroid tumor or cyst, but recommended an ultrasound to be sure. When the results of the ultrasound came back, her physician contacted her immediately. The mass had malignant tendencies, and she would need to see a breast surgeon as soon as possible. The following day, a needle biopsy was performed. Abnormal cells were present, and Buglino immediately underwent a lumpectomy. Less than 24 hours later, while recuperating at home, she received the call every woman fears. “The results of your biopsy are back,” her doctor said, “you have breast cancer.” Chemotherapy and radiation were her only options. She was concerned about the side effects, but knew that without the treatments, her chance of survival would be minimal at best. “It was five months of severe nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and lost hair,” said Buglino, “but with the help of family and friends, I made it.” She was physically and emotionally drained, but her cancer was in remission. Taking advantage of her second chance, Buglino moved with her two children to Florida to be closer to her parents and sister. Upon arrival, she had a local oncologist review her file. Because of her age and medical history, it was recommended she be tested for the Breast Cancer Gene. A month later, the results of her genetic tests indicated the presence of the gene, meaning she faced a 97 percent chance of recurrence from a more aggressive cancer likely to attack her breasts, ovaries, uterus and colon. Wanting to see her children grow up, she explored her options. A bi-lateral mastectomy and a hysterectomy would reduce her chance of recurrence by 84 percent. In June 2003, two years after her initial diagnosis, Buglino underwent a double mastectomy and a total hysterectomy, robbing her of her womanhood, but probably saving her life. Reconstruction began one week later, and continued with five more procedures over the next two years. “If my story encourages even one woman to seek treatment, or to be tested and possibly spared, then this all won’t have been in vain,” says Buglino. Her sixth and final surgery was scheduled for May 30, 2006. Lydia Buglino has now been cancer-free for several years.