My Croablation Journey
by Christine B.
I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 grade 2 June 2017. I was immediately turned over to a surgeon who strongly suggested a lumpectomy, radiation, and a hormone blocker. Better yet a mastectomy due to my small breasts.
I had never heard of DCIS until I was diagnosed!
So if I had breast cancer then why wasn’t it called breast cancer? And why was it treated like invasive cancer? I had to investigate my diagnosis.
After investigating all of my options which included second opinions and consulting with two cosmetic surgeons, plus reading all I could find on DCIS, I realized that the aggressive treatment I was presented with just did not make sense to me. I opted to just wait and watch. I was monitored via 3D mammograms every 6 months and used castor oil patches on my breast. My medical team at the time thought I was out of my mind.
For two years my DCIS remained stable. I got married and relocated to Florida. I had become involved with many DCIS Facebook groups and continued staying on top of my DCIS with new Drs. who were also pushing for further treatment. When I went in yet again for my usual 6 month check, I was told my DCIS had grown. It was then I decided that I needed to rethink my options.
One of the ladies within a DCIS Facebook group had posted her experience having cryoablation. I began asking questions. I watched videos on YouTube that actually showed the procedure. Her Dr. — Dr. Dennis Holmes — had done many lectures that were also uploaded to YouTube. He was well respected in the breast cancer community of professionals.
Dr. Holmes was three thousand miles away from me. Long story short, I contacted Dr. Holmes and sent all of my medical records to be evaluated. Lucky for me I was a good candidate for this procedure and my husband and I traveled from Florida to Glendale, California.
Dr. Holmes and his staff were amazing! This was an empowering experience as well as educational and interesting. This procedure makes so much sense! A probe that is inserted directly into the the tumor. The cells are frozen thus killed. A margin is created. There is no cutting and the breast is left perfectly in tact. I was able to watch the cells being frozen and destroyed via ultrasound.
The procedure took about an hour and I was out having dinner and site-seeing that evening. I applied ice later that evening and took two Tylenol. The next day I was a little sore, but I went on with site-seeing, so no down time!
The breast did have some bruising, but I had little pain. I could see the lump from the cryoablation. It has been 6 weeks since my procedure, the lump is getting smaller and will gradually disappear in time.
I will return to Dr. Holmes 6 months post cryoablation for a biopsy, MRI, and ultra sound to confirm it is indeed GONE! The success rate is very high. With cryoablation performed by Dr. Holmes over a 10 year period there have been only 3 re-occurrences.
Hormone blocker may also be suggested if needed and the possibility of radiation depending on individual case and patient willingness.
Cryoablation is currently an off protocol procedure and is not yet covered by insurance. I was informed by Dr. Holmes that hopefully within 5 years, this will be another treatment option for some women and covered by insurance. Doctors do not inform patients with regard to cryoablation if they do not perform it. I feel that is a crime. Women should be informed of all choices!
In my opinion Dr. Holmes is a hero. He saves breasts one woman at a time!
“Not every patient wants to have the most extreme treatment. Some patients want the least invasive procedure…” – Dr. Dennis Holmes
For more information: Dr. Dennis Holmes and Cryoablation