My Doctor Told Me: “Your Breast is Like Spoiled Soup… It’s Not Worth Saving.” Ten Years Later — Evidence I Proved Her Wrong

In October 2011, my doctor said to me:

“Your breast is like spoiled soup… it’s not worth saving.”

When I said I did not want to do anything further, she said,

“Don’t be stupid Donna — at least do 3 weeks of radiation.”

She had also previously said to me, “You don’t want to wait until it’s not treatable.”

10 years later, I can say with absolute certainty:

My breast was NOT “like spoiled soup.”

I was NOT “stupid.” 

WAITING was a SMART thing to do.

I did not “NEED” a mastectomy, radiation or tamoxifen (as guidelines recommended.)

I am so HAPPY and GRATEFUL I focused on NUTRITION and LIFESTYLE instead.

10 years later, I can say with absolute certainty:

My breast was “WORTH SAVING.”

I was PERFECTLY HEALTHY (and I still am!)

Breast cancer is scary — but so is OVER-DIAGNOSIS and OVER-TREATMENT

What is Overdiagnosis?

Overdiagnosis happens when people get a diagnosis they don’t need. It can happen when people without symptoms are diagnosed and then treated for a disease that won’t actually cause them any symptoms, and it can happen for people whose symptoms or life experiences are given a diagnostic label which brings them more harm than good. 

One common way overdiagnosis can happen is when healthy people who attend screening programs or receive tests during check-ups are diagnosed and subsequently treated for the early form of a disease which would never in fact have harmed them. With breast cancer screening for example, a systematic review of studies published in the British Medical Journal suggests that up to one in three of the cancers detected via screening may be overdiagnosed.”  – Preventing Overdiagnosis

“In the last few decades we’ve learned that the types of breast cancers that do not grow, or grow very slowly and do not spread, are more common than expected.1 So they would never have an impact on a woman in her lifetime. When these types of cancer are detected by breast screening mammography, this is known as ‘overdiagnosis’.” –What is breast cancer overdiagnosis? Wiser Healthcare, Australia

What is Overtreatment?


“Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a prime example of potential overtreatment. DCIS is frequently detected by screening mammography, accounting for one quarter of all breast cancers diagnosed today. DCIS is usually treated similar to invasive breast cancer with surgery, radiation and hormone-blocking medicines. Despite newer research concluding these interventions provide no difference in survival, aggressive ‘cancer’ treatments remain the “standard of care,” and many women world-wide are faced with the life-long emotional, physical and financial consequences of aggressive treatments.” – PRECISION (PREvent ductal Carcinoma ISitu Invasive Overtreatment Now)

The Psychological Harms of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

One of the most devastating harm of overdiagnosis is the psychological harm which is impossible to quantify. If researchers spent time in online DCIS patient support groups, they would understand the enormity of the problem. Fear and misinformation are rampant and contagious.

A DCIS diagnosis often blindsides. Most women have no symptoms. Even if it is “stage zero,” the way it is presented by health-care professionals combined with a misperception of risk and lack of understanding of cancer itself creates a perfect storm for confusion, fear, anxiety and overwhelm. Most women want to act fast. Most want to get “it” out. Many women opt for a double mastectomy.

The image of cancer spreading. Memories of loved ones suffering and dying. Rumination. Sleepless nights. Thoughts of leaving young children without their mother. Worst-case scenarios and story after story of recurrences or invasive cancer found after lumpectomy or mastectomy.

No matter how much evidence is presented to the contrary about a large majority of DCIS being “low-risk” and “non-invasive,” the tendency to fixate on the scariest words and images is hard to shake.

The reality is — the majority of women receiving a diagnosis of DCIS are more likely to be overdiagnosed than they are to be in danger of having actual invasive breast cancer in the future.

The main driver of overdiagnosis is mammography screening. If DCIS of any type is detected (even the lowest risk), doctors must follow “standard of care” guidelines, which include treatment protocols that set women up for being over-scared and over-treated.

In hindsight, I wish I had fired the surgeon who fear-mongered me far earlier.

I do feel incredibly grateful and happy I had a strong intuition that my doctor was wrong and I needed to find support elsewhere.

Instead of fearing cancer, I studied nutrition. I created DCIS 411 and made connections with like-minded women. I also set up daily google alerts and searched for information from thought-leaders who were speaking out about overdiagnosis and overtreatment of DCIS. This has always resonated with me and I have never identified with “cancer” or the fear of cancer.

I now have ten years of evidence. My instincts were right.

If you’d like to read more of my story and why I created DCIS 411, please click here.

Please share any thoughts, experiences or ideas in the “Reply box” below. 

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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2 Responses to My Doctor Told Me: “Your Breast is Like Spoiled Soup… It’s Not Worth Saving.” Ten Years Later — Evidence I Proved Her Wrong

  1. Gwen Baker says:

    Donna: Thanks for sending this! I’ve been watching various links on your website site and following your Twitter feed- as Facebook as well. It’s hugely helpful! You are indeed doing a great public service. I ordered Gilbert Welch’s book on over diagnosis. It says he’s at the Brigham in Boston ? Is that true? That’s where all this started for me. I also ordered a book about Mammagraphy Screening by a doctor / scientist from Netherlands? Have you seen it? A bit pricey on Amazon but it looks interesting in revealing the underbelly of the industry. I watched Cancershare. Org PowerPoint conference call from a month ago. The speaker is a patient advocate in the Comet Study – Deborah ?? You must know her. Informative and helpful . Your research is invaluable! You have changed my life snd like you I am now on the journey to empower myself and heal myself. No need to rush into anything. Clearly this is very nuanced and very individual – as much as doctors want one size fits all. I am still digesting all the material you have on line snd following the various links. I will be seeing the hormone doctor I see who is as much of a naturalpath gyn as you can be with her conventional training snd Board certification. But when she started giving her patients bio- identicals snd anti aging natural care she ran into the brick wall of the medical establishment . None of her patients have gotten breast cancer and I believe that includes me! I will be staying in touch. I’m trying to put my life back together after it’s been Upended by these cancer doctors and their attempts to make this an emergency. It’s not certainly not in my case. It’s low low risk as they have all said. Even the ones from the medical acedemic echo chamber in Boston. I will reach out to the medical malpractice lawyer Andrew Meyer and his firm in Boston this week. Much love Gwen

    Gwen Baker, Founder and Managing Partner The GB Financial Group,Inc

    www. Mobile: 630.508.5433 Office Direct: 508 545 2793 Main Office: 781 237 4657 Fax: 312.276.8333

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