In 2007, Margarita Vacanti of Lakewood, Colorado noticed early symptoms of breast cancer. She wasted no time in contacting Kaiser Permanente. Breast cancer runs in Margarita’s family, an indicator that she herself likely would face the disease. Within hours, the 34-year-old mother of three had received a mammogram and later learned she had stage 2 breast cancer.
When Margarita first met with Catherine Azar, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Colorado Medical Center, the oncologist had already signed her up for a clinical trial and selected a chemotherapy regimen best suited for the invasive type of cancer Margarita had. “That was incredibly reassuring. I didn’t feel like I needed to do any of the research.” Margarita was freed up to be with her family and “to deal with the fact that [her] life was turned upside-down.”
Margarita’s aggressive treatment involved six months of chemotherapy and a bi-lateral mastectomy, followed by an additional seven months of chemotherapy and six weeks of daily radiation therapy. Margarita has been cancer-free for four years.
“I cannot imagine having to go through this experience without the support of Kaiser Permanente,” said Vacanti.