Donna’s Story Featured in Women’s Health Magazine


Click here to read: ‘Why I Refused to Get Treatment When I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer’

“Everyone has the association that cancer is a death sentence.”

“You’re backed into a corner because of unknowns. My doctor said, ‘Don’t be stupid. Just do radiation at least.’ They called me stupid. But why would anybody have surgery if there’s nothing to be seen? I know why that’s happening, that rush to get it out. It’s just that knee-jerk reaction when we hear the word cancer.”

Read the full story here.

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On the Radio — Donna on “High Energy Health”

micIt was an honor to share my story and passion with Dawson Church on his radio show “High Energy Health.”

To listen, click here and scroll down to 9/8/2016 Donna Pinto – Give Wellness. Alternatively, click here for direct link to the mp3.

Thanks for listening!! 🙂 Donna

Dawson Church, PhD, Founder of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare, is the primary investigator in many scientific studies, and the best-selling author of *The Genie in Your Genes.*
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Esserman & Hwang: TIME’s Top 100 — (And My Top 10!)

Highlights-Esserman-Hwang-TIME100-Blog-270x85What a major milestone this is!

Laura Esserman and Shelley Hwang — named to the 2016 TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World!

Why are These Doctors in My Top 10?

From the day I received a DCIS diagnosis and I was told of the very drastic and aggressive treatments, I began to investigate what intuitively felt seriously wrong. I was scared, confused and overwhelmed, but thankfully I soon discovered two breast surgeons leading a “controversial” call for change and discussing the problem of “over-treatment” of DCIS.

Laura Esserman and  Shelley Hwang became my heroes.  They were both boldly taking a stance — challenging the medical status quo when it came to DCIS and calling for radical change. I have been following and promoting their important messages for over six years.

Up until recently the mainstream media didn’t pay much attention to them. Celebrities with DCIS choosing double mastectomies made headline news while the over-treatment issue — potentially harming thousands of women every year — continued under the radar of the major media.

Then in August 2015, the largest study ever on DCIS concluded there was no difference in survival between DCIS treatments. Almost overnight Esserman and Hwang began to get the attention and recognition they deserved. Even I was featured in several major news segments! Click here to see all the exciting media hoopla.

The Inspiration to Create DCIS 411

One of the biggest reasons I felt compelled to create DCIS 411 was to share Esserman and Hwang’s published statements that I had been collecting for nearly two years.

I discovered their controversial wisdom soon after receiving the shocking blow that sent me scrambling to the internet in January 2010. Esserman and Hwang gave me my sanity back. I felt completely validated and reassured that I was not crazy for choosing to forego drastic and alarming “standard of care” treatment protocols my doctors in San Diego were urging me to do. I found a sense of peace and confidence knowing breast cancer experts believed as I did — only they had years of clinical experience and scientific research to back up what was just a strong gut feeling for me.

While I felt blessed and overjoyed every time I found an article quoting these experts, I knew most women probably did not have the time to research this topic as I had.

I felt strongly that every newly diagnosed woman deserved to know what these highly credible breast surgeons were stating. The problem, however, is all too often, women are rushed ahead with surgeries and radiation before they have a chance to blink. And even if they did find an article or two and they brought these out-of-the-box perspectives to their doctors, most surgeons and oncologists would likely not support them — or worse — scare them that DCIS was a “ticking time bomb.”

It sickened me to know that over 60,000 women a year might be missing a crucial message that could potentially save them from losing their breasts or sparing them from weeks of radiation.

Not Everyone Felt As I Did

When I first stumbled upon Esserman and Hwang’s bold viewpoints, I felt elated. I thought it would be a no-brainer for doctors and women to join the “less is more” bandwagon. To my astonishment, I was wrong. Resistance and even belittling from medical professionals and patients alike was what I experienced. Doctors quickly dismissed the topic of active surveillance as “too controversial” and “too risky.” My doctor actually said to me, “Don’t be stupid Donna.”

Even worse was the response from patients chatting in online DCIS support forums. When I shared links to articles discussing active surveillance and my choice to forego the standard of care aggressive protocol, a heated debate would often ensue. There were many naysayers and some were down-right mean. Many women argued — “DCIS IS CANCER” — and told me I was being foolish and irresponsible.

I quickly grew tired and frustrated hearing worst-case scenarios and statistics of bad outcomes. After being told NOT to “promote” my new DCIS 411 website by moderators in an online DCIS forum, I signed off for good. All I wanted was to help women find support, valuable resources and peace of mind if they were like me — seeking options to a fear-driven urgency to undergo potentially harmful treatments with little or no benefit.

How Sweet It Is — Making a Positive Difference 

Today, much has shifted for the better thanks to Laura Esserman and Shelley Hwang.

Thanks TIME Magazine and Melissa Etheridge for honoring them. You just made the mission of DCIS 411 and DCIS Redefined a whole lot easier.

See 2016 TIME 100, “Breast-Cancer Doctors Who Dare To Do Less.

Stay Tuned… 

Be sure to to stay updated on both Esserman and Hwang’s important studies by “following” DCIS 411 here and on Facebook.

See Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for more information on their latest studies.

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Inspired to Give Back

giving_buddhaGive Wellness is my new nonprofit venture.

This project is inspired by all that I have learned since being diagnosed with DCIS in 2010.

The mission of Give Wellness is to give Free Wellness Workshops and Scholarships to under-served schools, individuals and groups.

Programs include:

HEALTHY Happy Hour Workshop:  

  • Participants learn tips and tricks for making easy, nutritious appetizers, non-dairy nut milks, power smoothies and healthy snacks.
  • Schools, senior centers, cancer support groups and nonprofits may apply here for a FREE Workshop.


  • Funds raised are given directly to people diagnosed with cancer (*or other serious life or health challenges).

Learn more at

Thank you to everyone who is joining me in my birthday wish to raise $5,100 to bring FREE wellness workshops and scholarships to people in need.

Read all about it here.


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DCIS Over-treatment Makes Mainstream News — 2015 Highlights

The media madness began in August 2015 following the publication of the most extensive study to date on DCIS in the prestigious medical Journal JAMA Oncology. The study of over 100,000 women concluded there was no “life-saving” benefit to “standard protocol” for DCIS (surgery, radiation and drugs).  “The analysis reinforces a growing belief that current treatment regimens for this condition are overly aggressive or outright unnecessary.” 

Donna in the news:

KPBS_TV_Aug 24_2015KPBS Radio & TV, August 24, 2015, Study Prompts San Diego Doctors, Patients To Question Breast Cancer Treatment Strategy  TOP STORY on Midday Edition — a LIVE 16 minute radio interview and 5 minute TV segment featuring Donna along with an oncologist from Sharp Hospital in San Diego.

TIMETIME Magazine, October 1, 2015: Why Doctors Are Rethinking Breast-Cancer Treatment Donna was interviewed via phone for 45 minutes for this article. She discussed how she was “blindsided” when given the diagnosis, yet she knew intuitively the standard aggressive DCIS protocol was not right. Sadly, this article focuses on “doing nothing” and does not mention being pro-active with regards to a holistic approach to diet and lifestyle as Donna emphasized was so important for herself as well as all women choosing “active surveillance.”

SDUTSan Diego Union Tribune, Study challenges status quo in breast cancer treatment  Donna’s story is featured in this FRONT PAGE article.

More major news stories and headlines:

GMAABC’s Good Morning America, August 21, 2015:

 ‘Stage Zero’ Breast Cancer: New Study Casts Doubt on Early Intervention


cbs news


CBS News TV segment, November 3, 2015 The debate over early breast cancer treatment


NY Times

New York Times, August 20, 2015: Doubt Is Raised Over Value of Surgery for Breast Lesion at Earliest Stage

New York Times, September, 28, 2015: A Breast Cancer Surgeon Who Keeps Challenging the Status Quo

JAMAJAMA Oncology, Editorial,  Rethinking the Standard for Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Treatment

Dr. EssermanHealth News Review, DCIS dilemma: Dr. Laura Esserman podcast


PreventionPrevention Magazine, Nov 5, 2015: Annual Mammograms Won’t Lower Your Risk Of Dying From Breast Cancer. Here’s What Will.

LA TimesLos Angeles Times, November 20, 2015: We should look less hard for cancer

ElleElle Magazine,


CNN, February 4, 2015: Time to change how we think about cancer

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Women Empowering Women — Shifting the Paradigm

Donna_GroupA phenomenal thing happens when women become educated and empowered.

Inspiration. Motivation. Passion. Connection. Action.

This is the fuel igniting a paradigm shift in women’s health.

Women sharing their personal experiences. Their concerns and fears. Their desire for truth and justice. Their vision for health-care without harm.

Empowering one another to listen to that small voice inside. And to remember how incredible and brilliant this innate, built-in intuitive guidance system is.

This “inner knowing” is what leads us to question the status quo, the pressures, the conflicts of interest, and the propaganda. It leads us to investigate even further. Little by little we discover new possibilities and solutions. From here, we make intelligent, logical “common sense” choices — based on facts — not fear.

One by one. Through blogs and websites. On Facebook and Twitter. Through enlightening films. And by gathering together.

Thank you to all the women who are empowering women. Together, we are shifting the paradigm.


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Video of Donna’s Journey: 2009 – 2015

donna_closeIt’s been 6 years.

Click on this link to watch a video summarizing my journey.

In addition to empowering women diagnosed with DCIS, I recently created a nonprofit with the mission to empower women to #LiveWELL and #BeWISE. Please check out: Give Wellness.

Thank you for your love and support!

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