When Gina Imbrenda discovered a lump on her breast during a self-examination, she contacted her doctor immediately. She underwent an MRI at the Jim and Eleanor Randall Breast Center, which confirmed what she feared: It was breast cancer. For Gina, at the time an employee here, the choice of where she would go for treatment was easy: Huntington Cancer Center.
Gina made an appointment with surgeon Jeannie Shen, MD, regional medical director of the breast program and international health at Huntington Cancer Center, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. From the time she first sat down with Dr. Shen, Gina knew she was in good hands. “Dr. Shen made me feel like I was fully informed,” she says.
Thankfully, her stage 3 cancer had not spread, so Gina was able to have targeted surgery. Dr. Shen performed a lumpectomy and bilateral reduction to remove her tumor. Gina was also able to have reconstructive surgery in the same outpatient visit. This streamlined process was made possible by Huntington’s world-class surgical specialists. Gina also noted the expert skill of her radiation oncologist, Ruth Williamson, MD, clinical director of radiation oncology. “It was amazing,” Gina recalled. “Everyone I encountered was emotionally supportive and professional.”
Gina took advantage of the unique, holistic support services available at our cancer center. There, she went to community yoga sessions and got massages to help with the stress of recovery. Gina appreciated that, as she says, “they truly cared for both my emotional and my physical well-being.”
Thanks to the dedication of her care team, Gina is now celebrating seven years of being cancer-free! Since finishing treatment, she decided to follow her passion by pursuing a career in animal rescue — inspired by her love for her pit bull, Louie.
Gina keeps up with her annual checkups and screenings to monitor her health and make sure the cancer has not returned. In reflecting on her journey, she emphasizes the importance of preventive care and education. “Do your research,” Gina says. “Get screened, and know your family history and risk factors for breast cancer. It could save your life like Huntington saved mine.”
Learn more about our comprehensive, lifesaving breast cancer care.