In early 2015, a few months after her last clear mammogram, then-44-year-old Lia noticed that something seemed “off” with her right breast.
“I knew something was wrong,” Lia says.
She asked her doctor to refer to Mount Sinai, saying “I’ve always felt it’s one of the best in Toronto.”
Lia’s ultrasound found stage 4 breast cancer. Although Lia has no family history of breast cancer, she does have dense breasts, which made it more likely for an early cancer to be missed by mammograms.
“Since then I’ve been going the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre,” says Lia. “When you’re in stage 4 you’re basically always being treated.”
Since then, the team at the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre has cared for Lia.
“They’ve kept me alive, but they’ve done much more than that,” she says.
“Everyone knows your name. You walk in and they’re calling you by your first name. You’re not a number. Nurses know who you are. Doctors know who you are. Social workers know you and can tell if you’re having a bad day or you’re not yourself. Everything is there and available. If I need something I can just pick up the phone and call.”
This past June, after much consideration of how to manage the risk of COVID-19, Lia and her fiancé Ben got married.
“We’d been planning for awhile but then COVID hit and we wondered ‘do we postpone it, don’t we?’ Because of my health we decided to go ahead.”
When Lia visited the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre for appointments, she was touched when various team members noticed and admired a new addition to her attire her engagement ring.
“When it comes to that personal touch, it’s absolutely unique.”
This November marks the 25th anniversary of the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre. When it was founded, it was the first in Canada to offer breast screening, diagnosis and cancer care all in one place. Today it’s still known for its integrated, supportive and full-service approach. It’s also known as a place that feels like home, and treats patients like family.
“Lately I’ve been getting emotional because of all the struggles with my health, and feeling really overwhelmed,” says Lia.
She recalls past visits where she’s been feeling anxious and upset.
“The team knows I’m usually pretty happy and upbeat. So at times when I haven’t been myself, people notice. They all rally together. I’m so happy that I’m there because I know that I’m being treated by the best.”
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