Regular Screening Helps Local School Counselor Beat Cancer, Again

Healthy for life: Regular screening helps local school counselor beat cancer twice

Retired school counselor Linda Fortune thought she’d left cancer behind. After her first breast cancer diagnosis and the removal of several cancerous breast lumps in the 1980s, Linda had a partial mastectomy in 1991. The avid skier and gardener quickly went back to work as an elementary school counselor in Tacoma and spent the next 25 years enjoying her Proctor-area home, volunteer work, and meditation.

Regular breast cancer screening was part of Linda’s routine, and each annual scan showed that she was cancer-free. But then a 2015 mammogram at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Carol Milgard Breast Center revealed a lump in her right breast; a biopsy confirmed that the lump was cancer. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health breast surgeon Lynne Clark, MD, performed a full mastectomy on the right breast. She referred Linda to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health oncologist Frank Senecal, MD, who supported Linda’s wishes for holistic care.

LindaFortune

Her cancer journey wasn’t quite over yet; a follow-up mammogram in 2016 revealed another small cancerous lump, this time in the left breast. Dr. Clark promptly removed the lump, and follow-up scans showed no additional signs of cancer.

A dedicated volunteer at the Seattle Meditation Center, Linda combined Eastern and Western medicine during her treatment, using visualization, mindfulness, and diet changes to support her overall well-being. Her Virginia Mason Franciscan Health providers supported her treatment goals, she said. “Dr. Clark and my ANRP Hannah Nagle really listened to me. Dr. Senecal monitored me, but he also listened to me. They respected my point of view.”

“Dealing with this type of issue isn’t fun, and the whole team worked together and treated me like I was important,” she said. “They did a great job with me.”