CLEVELAND- She received a grim diagnosis, which ultimately became a blessing.
Milissa Pinzone of Nova, Ohio, in Ashland County said, "I was having some breast changes that I felt. I felt the cysts; I felt a really large cyst."
Pinzone says that large nodule found on her right side led to a diagnosis of a non-cancerous cyst.
But the 51-year-old believes that diagnosis, made at the Cleveland Clinic last November, may have been a blessing in disguise.
"Dr. Al-Hilli did my first surgery and removed the cyst with the nodule and that was showing what they call LCIS which is lobular carcinoma insightu, which I refer to as the non-cancerous cancer," said Pinzone.
Milissa was immediately classified as being a high-risk candidate for developing cancer, and as a result, doctors put her on a track to being monitored more closely than your average patient.
She was referred to the Clinic’s medical breast clinic, which provides patients with a specific risk assessment and risk management.
After undergoing intensive mammogram screenings and MRIs, doctors discovered a small mass in Pinzone’s breast in May of this year.
A biopsy determined it was cancerous.
Cleveland Clinic breast surgeon Dr. Zahraa Al-Hilli said, "Women with a typical hyperplasia have a four times higher chance of developing breast cancer compared with women who don't have that finding."
Pinzone underwent a mastectomy immediately, followed by breast reconstruction.
The wife and mother of three young girls believes the personalized risk assessments gave her a second chance in life, since the mass was caught early.
Pinzone said, “I am indebted to all of the physicians that have taken care of me, for giving me a second chance to live my life and I need to spread this message to others about early detection."