Shannon Brean credits the medical team at Rochester Regional Health for saving her life and making it possible to be the mother she wants to be for her young son. For Shannon, it went beyond the diagnosis and treatment, and extended to the care and compassion she received from the medical team.
Shannon was understandably anxious after learning she had Stage 2 breast cancer in 2015 but Joel Yellin, MD, a surgeon at Rochester General Hospital, immediately put her at ease.
“He called me at 10 p.m., when he was on vacation and said, ‘Shannon, we’re going to take care of you.’ He then got me in to see him in a couple of days,” she said. “He had the best bedside manner and was always positive. He was the most caring man I’ve ever talked to in my life.”
Shannon was 45 and the mother of six-month-old Berkley when she began a treatment that included chemotherapy to shrink the tumor in her right breast, a mastectomy, breast reconstruction and radiation. Berkeley, now 3, was her inspiration.
“I just kept thinking that when this is over he won’t remember that his mommy couldn’t pick him up or play with him, or that she lost all her hair,” Shannon remembers. “I thank my doctors for that. They saved my life.”
Shannon credits the team at Rochester Regional for her recovery, including Megan Carmel, MD, a Unity Hospital OB/GYN at Clinton Crossings who diagnosed the cancer and referred her to Dr. Yellin. Shannon had a full team caring for her: Saad Jamshed, MD, an oncologist at the Lipson Cancer Institute, radiology oncologist Meri Atanas, MD, and Mark Davenport, MD, a plastic surgeon. The multidisciplinary team of physicians coordinated all aspects of Shannon’s care.
Under Dr. Jamshed’s direction, Shannon underwent six rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and also kill cancer cells that had spread to the lymph nodes in her right armpit. Although she was cancer-free following chemotherapy treatment, she decided to have a full mastectomy, performed by Dr. Yellin, after testing positive for the BRCA breast cancer gene. Breast reconstruction was performed by Dr. Davenport, with a final round of radiation completing the treatment. Shannon’s recovery was truly a coordinated effort.
“I am cancer-free today,” Shannon says. “I feel good. I can play with Berkeley. And my hair is beautiful, if I do say so myself!”