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The path to recovery is the fight against breast cancer – Lyudmila’s Story

Lyudmila, a resident of the Ukraine, came to Sheba Medical Center to seek treatment for breast cancer. This is her story:

“I have always tried to live a healthy lifestyle by being active in sports, maintaining a nutritious diet, and having annual health checkups that included required mammograms. After one of the mammograms, in April 2016, a tumor was found in my left breast. The tumor measured 5.5 to 9.0. After further testing, I received the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer.

The physicians and oncologists suggested surgery to gain an additional 10 to 15 years of life. I tried my best not to panic and to look at all of my options. I consulted with numerous medical friends and analyzed all of the advice provided to me by people in similar situations. I decided to travel to Israel for a second opinion. I was concerned that I might have to sell something or borrow money to pay for the trip and the medical care but luckily the cost was very affordable, so I was not forced to take such drastic steps to pay for my trip and medical care.

I arrived in Tel Aviv on June 12. The physicians in the Ukraine had told me that the cancer was progressing rapidly, so I could not delay treatment. I visited four hospitals in Israel, and the fourth was the Sheba Medical Center. Sheba’s Medical Tourism Department’s staff was very different from that of the previous hospitals. They were exceptionally friendly. The team took the time to answer all of my questions in detail, so I decided that Sheba was the perfect place to receive treatment.

At Sheba Medical Center, I underwent a complete examination that included a mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, biopsy, and PET/CT to clarify the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. The physicians in Ukraine had advised me to undergo a complete mastectomy, but the doctors at Sheba did not rush to make such a suggestion. Sheba’s oncologist, Professor Bella Kaufman, prescribed a course of chemotherapy that was tailored for my specific diagnosis and condition. Within six months, the size of the tumor had decreased by half. By February 2017, the cancer was small enough to be surgically removed without having to perform a complete mastectomy. Dr. Aviad Hoffman carried out the surgery, and the next morning I was discharged from the hospital. I rode the bus and then walked a kilometer to an apartment that I had rented and experienced no pain whatsoever. During the ensuing five or six days I felt no pain. On the seventh day, there was a small amount of pain, but it disappeared within a week. Following the surgery, I experienced no edema in the operated area or my arm or hand.

The care that I received at the Sheba Medical Center was exceptional. The oncologist, Professor Bella Kaufman, and the surgeon, Dr. Aviad Hoffman, were both very attentive and professional.”

A year and a half after surgery, Lyudmila continues to undergo regular examinations, and the results remain positive.

Lyudmila adds:

“I especially want to share my positive experience with the coordinators of the Medical Tourism Department who accompanied me during all of the diagnostics and preparation steps for the operation. Natasha Batyuk, the coordinator, was very attentive and friendly. I was able to talk to her in depth and even share my doubts or concerns. She was always tactful, cordial, reserved, and supportive during all of my preoperative and postoperative appointments. My questions were always readily answered. All of the staff of coordinators remained optimistic and friendly throughout my entire diagnosis and treatment.”