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Susan Foley

Breast Cancer Survivor Empowered by Information

An investment professional, Susan Foley spends her time analyzing companies and management. Gathering information is her business and she's very good at it. So it didn't surprise anyone when she put the same energy into choosing a place to get her care after being diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago.

"I did my research," she recalled. "I looked at doctors on the West Coast and on the East Coast and compared different teams. I wanted to find the best care, with the best providers at a leading research center."

As a successful San Francisco businesswoman, Susan could have gone anywhere in the U.S. to get help. The place she chose was UCSF Medical Center.

"When I arrived at UCSF and met with the head of the breast center, Dr. Esserman, and an oncologist there, I knew I had found the right place to be."

But the journey was still tough. As an avid runner and horseback rider with a healthy lifestyle and no family history of the disease. Susan never expected to get breast cancer. But the team at the Breast Care Center helped her get through it.

"There was a psychologist on board that just sat me down and talked to me about the process that I would be going through; simple things, like cutting my hair before I lost it all," the mother of three remembered. "They've taken a proactive role in helping patients be better advocates for themselves, which is important when youre faced with such an overwhelming diagnosis."

"Information is key for me. And when I was diagnosed, I thought I should just have a full mastectomy and be done with this. Esserman really showed me in the data that my outcomes would be the same whether I had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. It was information that empowered me"

Susan also wanted to be at a leading research hospital involved in the latest clinical trials.

"You're just improving your possible outcomes," she explained. "It was also very important to me to be giving back something. I was the first person enrolled in the clinical trial for exercise, to see if doing exercise actually improved your outcome and fatigue with chemotherapy."

Following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Susan started a five-year Tamoxifen regimen, which she recently completed.

"When I went searching for the right organization to be with, I was just looking for the brightest and the best doctors. What I found at the Breast Care Center were caring, compassionate and knowledgeable people that really care about the outcomes of their patients. For me it was important to get the best care so that I could be here to enjoy my family for many more years to come."

Story written in September 2004.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center
1600 Divisadero St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 353-7070
Surgery Fax: (415) 353-7050
Oncology Fax: (415) 353-7692

Radiation Oncology at Mount Zion
1600 Divisadero St., Basement Level
San Francisco, CA 94143-1708
Main Phone: (415) 353-7175
New Patient Appointments: (415) 353-9807
Fax: (415) 353-9884

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