Yvette Fosberg. Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan

Patient testimony: Woman battles breast cancer with help of St. Francis staff

Yvette Fosberg, of Milton, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.

In February 2018, Yvette Fosberg’s husband, Brock, prompted her to schedule a mammogram, her first in five years.

Brock’s sister was currently receiving treatment for breast cancer, so he wanted his wife to get screened too. Fosberg began having annual mammograms at age 40 to be proactive about prevention because her grandmother had breast cancer.

All of her mammograms came back clear, so Fosberg, a Milton resident, stopped after age 45.

Prior to the 2018 mammogram, she wasn’t having any symptoms and didn’t detect any breast lumps.

After her mammogram at Women’s Health & Breast Center at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, she received a call requesting another mammogram and an ultrasound. It was after her second mammogram she learned that she had a suspicious area that required a biopsy.

Her biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in her left breast.

“My primary care provider worked with me at the beginning [of the diagnosis] and from there it was Dr. [Michelle] Haslinger, the surgeon. She’s been great,” Fosberg said.

Scheduling her first surgery took several weeks, and the surgery was a complex, lengthy process because her cancer had spread to one lymph node. Her breast tumor was close to the skin, which meant some cancer had spread to the skin, and Fosberg had another surgery in April to remove those cancerous skin areas.

“The Breast Center at St. Francis was nice, quiet and calming,” Fosberg said. “It didn’t feel like a doctor’s office.”

Fosberg’s journey had some surprises along the way: her first surgery was expected to take a mere two hours, yet ended up being around six hours because of challenges with her lymph nodes. All along the way, Dr. Haslinger provided answers and reassurance, Fosberg said.

“She was really good at explaining everything, and in following up with me afterward,” Fosberg said. “I just want people to know that you have to get your mammogram, even if you don’t have any signs. If it hadn’t been for the mammogram, I would never have had a clue that something was going on.”

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