2018-19 Cancer Network Annual Report

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Patient Pearl

Pearl Hawver | Sentara Cancer Network Survivor

Power of Preventative Care

Pearl Hawver believes in the power of a positive attitude.

She also believes in the strength of preventive care. That’s why, every year on her birthday, she gives herself the best gift possible by getting a mammogram.

That gift paid off in January 2015, when her routine mammogram discovered a lump in her right breast.

“My doctor said, ‘You have breast cancer.’ And I said, ‘OK, what next?”

It’s that same direct, no-nonsense approach Pearl used to face her diagnosis of Her2+ breast cancer. She turned to the team of Dr. Farn Chan and Dr. Masoom Kandahari, triple-board-certified hematology and oncology experts.

Springing Into Action

“The mission of our team is to implement a patient-centered environment where patients are at the core of discussion and decision making,” explained Dr. Kandahari, medical staff president at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

With Pearl’s diagnosis of Her2+ breast cancer, the doctors were able to consult with one another to determine the best course of action.

“Her2+ breast cancer tends to be more aggressive, associated with higher risk of recurrence and poorer prognosis in the absence of systemic therapy. However, prognosis has improved with the availability of Her2 targeted therapy,” said Kandahari.

Pearl’s personalized medical plan included: six months of chemo, a lumpectomy, receiving radiation and then following up with a year of Her2 chemo. Her positive attitude helped lead the way.

“I did really well on chemo — I’m pretty laid back. I don’t let anything rent space in my head,” said Pearl. “I give it to God and we go from there.”

Living Cancer Free

Pearl says part of the reason things went so well was because of the support she received from her family, especially her younger sister, Phyllis. Phyllis, also a breast cancer survivor, helped Pearl channel her sewing talents to help fund breast cancer research.

“Right now, I’m making pin cushion hats for Relay for Life,” said Pearl, “Last year, I did five tote bags and they went for $100 each!”
The 78-year-old is living her life to the fullest, spending time with her three kids, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, thanks to the team approach of Dr. Chan and Dr. Kandahari.

“Cancer is a journey and they are right there with you,” said Pearl.