Donna climbs to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs!

Donna climbs to the peak of  Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs!

Anyone that’s ever had an MRI knows how much fun it is — NOT! And then there’s the waiting for results!

I want to give a personal shout out to all the folks at Aurora Breast Imaging of Orange County and the radiologists at UC Irvine. I am grateful for the comfort, caring and kindness they showed me.

To learn more about why I have chosen the Aurora RODEO MRI (dedicated breast MRI) for surveillance, please read my article here:

Dr. Michael Lagios states: any “dedicated” breast MRI is equivalent to the Aurora RODEO MRI.

About Donna Pinto

I am originally from New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles with my family at age 12. After graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Journalism, I had a short-stint in magazine advertising sales before landing my "dream job" with Club Med. For two years I worked at resorts in Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic and Colorado. My husband Glenn & I met in Ixtapa, Mexico and we embarked on a two year honeymoon around the world. This was also a research project for a book we wrote called "When The Travel Bug Bites: Creative Ways to Earn, Save and Stay Abroad." I am also the author of a quote book for new graduates -- "Cheatnotes on Life: Lessons From The Classroom of Life." In 1997, we settled in San Diego and I was blessed to work part-time from home for non-profit organizations while raising our two boys. In 2010, a DCIS diagnosis changed my life. DCIS 411 is the culmination of my on-going journey and discoveries.
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12 Responses to Latest MRI is GOOD GOOD GOOD

  1. Hey there Donna~ I’m thrilled to hear your good news!
    Still haven’t found another woman here in my area who is diagnosed with DCIS like me and not opting for standard treatment. I’ve altered my diet pretty radically and consulted w/ an integrated physicians to find the best supplements to include but it would be great to also connect with other women who are opting out of surgery/rad/tamox completely for this type of DCIS . I read the piece about Dr. Esserman who says we all can participate in clinical trials, but I haven’t found one here in Albany NY. or nearby that matches my situation: Hormone receptive Grade 2 DCIS w/ associated microcalcifications; cribriform subtype w/ comedo-necrosis. If anyone knows of other women in NY who are opting for watchful waiting and simultaneous deepening self care and anti- inflammatory lifestyle, please contact me at


    • dp4peace says:

      Hi cbdooly! I haven’t found any clinical trials either. Nor have I found any other local women diagnosed with DCIS and opting out of standard treatments. Good to put it out there! At least we have an online support and sisterhood! I have just started classes towards becoming a certified nutritionist so I will be sharing more about anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory foods/supplements soon! Be well and stay in touch! Donna


  2. cbdooly says:

    hi Donna! thanks for your reply! I too have just started coursework to be a health coach through Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I live in Albany NY but the school is an online course out of NYC.
    Really enjoying it so far and learning fun things to enhance what I’ve been learning about nutrition and lifestyle for years- much like you I’m sure- since I teach yoga and love dancing, snowboarding, and music – all amazing healing modalities!
    Thanks for creating this forum for sisterhood as you well stated and any links to other women coping with this diagnoze while questioning the dominant medical paradigm. Blessings and health~


  3. Marimar says:

    Hi Donna,

    That’s so great about your MRI! Good news! I’m all about good news! 😀 Also, thanks so much for creating this site for women with DCIS so we can learn from each other and support each other.

    Thanks and God bless,


  4. CT says:

    Dear Donna,

    I have just discovered your fantastic, and yes, sanity-saving website! Thank you so much for assembling so much valuable information about DCIS in one place.

    Your website is great, and your links to other websites are also great!

    I agree with you that I do not want to have any more mammograms. So I am looking for a different way to monitor microcalcifications that showed up on my last mammogram. I am considering the Aurora RODEO MRI.

    I clicked on the links in your post, and read all of the information there. But I am still wondering what it feels like to have an Aurora RODEO MRI. You mentioned that it is not fun. Could you describe the experience, please? And please add any other information (especially related to microcalcifications / DCIS) that you know about the Aurora RODEO MRI, which is not already listed on the links in your post.

    Thanks in advance, and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your website!


  5. dp4peace says:

    Hi CT,

    Thank you so much for your kind words and appreciation! It is heart-warming to know that women like you are finding solace from this site! I am happy to share about my experience of the Aurora breast MRI:

    Here is a good video which shows a regular breast MRI:

    The difference with the Aurora MRI is they put you in feet first — which could be better if you’re claustrophobic. After the IV catheter was put in my arm, I was given earplugs and headphones for “easy listening” music. The hard part about the MRI is the horrible noise and staying completely still for 30 second – 5 min. intervals (for 30-40 min). The technician spoke to me through the headphones and prepped me between each image taken. I could take deeper breaths in between. The technician would say “Donna, you’re doing great, the next one will be 2 minutes” and then the noise would start and I would remain completely still while trying to breathe as shallow as possible. I have referred to the noise as “noise torture.” It is hard to describe. Just irritating. Imagine a car alarm going off in your head for 1 minute, then 2 minutes, then 3 minutes, etc. With a few seconds of relief in between. What I believe has helped me the most get through it was my yoga practice where I have learned how to totally relax at the end of the class in “shivasana.” It’s like Lamaze training before giving birth. You have to remain calm and gently breathe through it. Unlike labor, an MRI is over in about 30-40 minutes — and there is no pain. You just really want it to be over! And it’s a great feeling when it is! So, no it is not fun, but I believe it is an important tool for surveillance…and a better alternative to mammograms.

    My good friend Sandie Walters (who introduced me to the AURORA RODEO MRI) recently wrote this article for a new website we are creating together entitled DCIS: Dilemmas, Choices and Integrative Solutions:

    Unfortunately, mammograms miss 20-25% of all cancers. They also underestimate the size of DCIS in a third of all lumpectomy patients. When this happens, the surgeon misses some DCIS and another surgery is needed. MRIs, which use magnets rather than radiation, can find what mammograms miss. According to a 2010 JNCI article by Dr. Constance Lehman : “Over the last decade, research has confirmed that of all imaging tools, MRI has the highest sensitivity in detection of DCIS (compared with mammography and ultrasound).” Although MRIs are considerably more expensive than mammograms, avoiding a re-excision would not only be less costly but also less traumatic.

    The Aurora RODEO MRI, offered at 35 locations in the United States, is a dedicated MRI, meaning it is used only for breast imaging. Its unique technology provides sharper 3-D images and better resolution than a standard whole body MRI. According to Dr. Steven Harms, referring to the RODEO MRI in a 2006 interview for Radiology Today, “We get three times the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of most 3DFT images. We’re using that SNR to improve resolution and improve the contrast resolution. And there are significant gains in both of those. The image resolution by the number of voxels we generate is three times that of what we had before. We also reduce scan time, which is less than half of what it was and contrast is about twice what it was before. It’s a considerable gain.”

    In fact, a 2012 study by Dr. Bruce J. Hillman etal showed that, while the false negative rate for whole body MRI has historically averaged 15%, the false negative rate for the RODEO MRI is less than 1%. In other words, if a RODEO MRI finds no cancer, there is only a 1% chance that it missed something, while with whole body MRI there is still a 15% chance cancer was missed. This study also showed that while whole body MRI has been criticized for its high false positive rates, typically between 32 and 41%, RODEO MRI has a very low false positive rate of only 11%. This means if a RODEO MRI finds something suspicious, the chances of an unnecessary biopsy are much lower.

    With such good numbers, the Aurora RODEO MRI is a highly accurate and useful imaging tool, especially for DCIS. With its 1% false negative rate, it can provide peace of mind as an annual screening device for higher risk patients. Its accurate 3-D mapping can also assist surgeons in providing more tailored excisions and biopsies of DCIS that cannot be seen on a mammogram, while its low 11% false positive rate protects patients from unnecessary biopsies.

    I hope this info has helped. 🙂 Donna


    • CT says:

      Dear Donna,

      Thank you for your very helpful, detailed reply. You answered almost all of the questions that I had about Aurora RODEO MRI.

      I do still have one question – are both breasts scanned at the same time? In other words, is the 30-40 minute scanning time for one breast or both? Is it possible to scan only one breast in half the time?



  6. dp4peace says:

    Hi CT,

    Yes, they scan both breasts at the same time. Good question though. I would call them and see if they can do one breast in 1/2 the time.
    🙂 Donna


  7. The Accidental Amazon says:

    Oh, lordy, I had a breast MRI not too long ago & it was clear, but I hated having it. Only thing that made it bearable was that I wrote a song parody about it. 😉 So glad you had good news on yours. Kathi


  8. Jackie says:

    Hi Donna,
    I really appreciate your website. In August 2012 I was diagnosed with dcis. I have had 2 biopsies and 2 surgeries. The first surgery was Oct. 2012. Everything went really well, very small, .o3 mil. clean edges, no other treatment recommended. But at the time of the wire placement they found another suspicious spot that they wanted to keep an eye on, so they told me to come back in 6 months for another mammo. Well, it was a bigger spot, more dcis, more surgery in June 2013, now they want me back for another mammo. because they are not sure they got it all. And now they are talking possibly another surgery, radiation, tamoxifen. I am a very holistic person and have tried to avoid the medical community as much as possible and so all of this is making me CRAZY! I can’t believe I am going thru all of this for something that may never even be a problem! It is nuts! I live in rural Idaho, am very active, have always tried to eat a healthy diet and am a very spiritual person. Recently I have heard of 2 other women in my area who are going thru this. What is going on? Can you tell me what and how you are doing now? What is you regimen that you are following and do you have any suggestions for me? It is so good to hear about someone like me that doesn’t think all of this invasive treatment is necessarily the answer. Thank you in advance for any help you may have and for you time. Thank you JH


    • dp4peace says:

      Hi Jackie,

      It feels like the system is making cancer patients out of perfectly healthy women! It’s women like you and I that really question the invasive procedures and aggressive nature in which the docs so casually prescribe. It’s as if they are creating the madness — a madness that doesn’t need to be. And they know it, but they have no other way. And they are obligated to follow “standard of care.” Plus they do not want to get sued. Once you step back and see the big picture of the whole cancer and pharmaceutical industry, it is so evident how pathetic it is. It’s up to us to find a better way. And, I believe I am creating a better way for myself (and sharing it for others to feel encouraged, supported and empowered)…through knowledge (I am always reading the latest info in the medical community as well as studying nutritional/holistic/natural ways of healing/energizing the body); understanding of my particular DCIS cells (2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions); minimizing stress (yoga, exercise, releasing negative relationships, time for me, quality sleep); eating clean/organic & high quality supplements; checking hormones, thyroid, Vit D levels; annual RODEO MRI. If I were you, I would request a RODEO MRI ( and if it is too far, possibly just a regular breast MRI at your local imaging center. And keep in mind what Dr. Esserman said: “Minimal-risk lesions should not be called cancer.”
      “With DCIS, the bulk of what we find is not high grade.”
      “Only high-grade DCIS is likely to progress to invasive breast cancer.”
      “If it doesn’t look like high-grade DCIS, we should leave it alone. We would eliminate two thirds of all biopsies if we did.”
      “Currently there are sufficient data to stop and rethink the entire approach to DCIS.”
      “Less than 5% of DCIS turns out to be something else, including invasive cancer.”
      “There are now 60,000 new cases a year of DCIS in the United States. But we haven’t seen any drop in invasive cancers, despite treatment of DCIS as if it were early cancer.”
      “The burgeoning problem of DCIS is a result of mammography screening. In the days before widespread mammography, DCIS was rare. In the United States, DCIS incidence has risen from 1.87 per 100,000 in 1973 to 1975 to 32.5 in 2004, according to a recent report published online January 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.”
      “Is the purpose of mammography screening to look for DCIS? No”
      “Maybe we shouldn’t try so hard to find it — particularly low- and intermediate-grade DCIS. We need to take them out of the screening agenda.

      As for my regimine now. It’s been pretty much the same for 3.5 years. I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL EVERYDAY for the path I have taken. I feel 100% positive that I made the right choices for me and I have NO REGRETS. I have learned so much and benefited tremendously from my journey (although it was extremely challenging for the first 2 years — dealing with all the doctors, surgeries, excessive mammograms, fear-based mentality). I haven’t been to a Western Medical Dr. since my visit with Dr. Esserman 1.5 years ago. With clear MRIs, I see no reason to have any follow-up. I have never been more at peace!! (I totally understand the stress you are experiencing as I was in your shoes!) You have to be very strong and courageous to walk away from Drs who are pressuring you. Have you seen a naturopathic/integrative Dr?

      Check out my post “Donna’s Daily Rx”: and “Health Tips”: READ and watch videos as much as you can that support your mind-body-spirit on the less aggressive healing path that resonates with you. See “Resources.” I would recommend reading these 3 books first: 1. Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Screiber, MD, PhD
      2. You Did What? Saying ‘No’ to Conventional Cancer Treatment by Hollie & Patrick Quinn
      3. Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald Yance, Jr., C.N, M.H, A.H.G

      Please feel free to ask me ANYTHING! I am HAPPY to help! This has become my life mission!

      Sending you love and light,


      • Jackie says:

        Thank you soo much for the speedy reply. I had an mri at my first initial dr appt. and the results came back that there was no other breast disease, but then at the time of the surgery and wire placement they found the 2nd spot. When I asked why the mri didn’t pick up the 2nd area they told me mri’s don’t pick up dcis very well. So why did they have me do it in the first place???!!! Yeah ,I am just a little confused and totally frustrated. Right now my gut is telling me to do the rad and meds and I can’t even tell you why because I am so anti-medical. My head is just spinning. I have been to alternative drs. This winter before my 6 month checkup I got intravenous vitamin and mineral injections hoping that would help change things but the dcis was still there. The one thing I know I do need to change is eating sweets. I am 53 have never been pregnant, my husband and I couldn’t conceive so we adopted 3 children, but I know never being pregnant raises your risk factor. Sorry, I feel like I am rambling, but you know how the thoughts are tumbling thru my head. Love and Light to you also, J


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