Grateful Patient: Sharon Znilek’s Breast Cancer Journey
When Sharon Znilek had her annual mammogram three years ago, she began a journey that no woman wants to take.
During that exam in May 2012, a spot was discovered on her right breast. She soon had a consultation in the office of Tammy Lamb, MD, a diagnostic radiologist. That led to a breast biopsy, which determined four lymph nodes were positive for cancer. One week later, breast surgeon Constanza Cocilovo, MD, removed the cancerous lymph nodes.
Sharon’s treatment had begun, but it was far from over. One month after her surgery, she began six weeks of chemotherapy under the care of medical oncologist Anne Favret, MD, followed by seven weeks of radiation therapy administered by Jane Grayson, MD.
Throughout her treatment and recovery, Sharon received support from the Inova Breast Care Navigator Program. Through this program, specially-trained registered nurses served as personal resources and experts to Sharon and her family, helping to coordinate physician visits, diagnostic tests, and communications between the care team.
Sharon also participated in the services offered through Inova Life with Cancer®, a one-of-a-kind, nationally recognized program that provides a vast range of practical and informative classes, support groups and other therapies and services to help patients and their families cope with cancer, all at no charge.
Sharon credits Life with Cancer—and her amazing team of physicians at Inova—for pulling her through her breast cancer experience.
“Inova provided me the resources and support I needed to successfully navigate my treatment,” she said. “At every point of my journey, I never doubted that the staff and the doctors were fighting not only for me, but with me.”
Three years later, Sharon is still “cancer-free.” She still participates in survivor classes and programs offered through Life with Cancer. And to share her story and gratitude with others facing a cancer diagnosis, Sharon is a participant in Life with Cancer’s Survivor’s Offering Support, or SOS program, serving as a mentor to a breast cancer patient for the past year.
Even though her journey continues, Sharon credits the entire Inova team for her recovery.
“The team of doctors and their ability to collaborate and communication weekly helped find a successful cure for my breast cancer,” she said.