Your support can give more peace of mind to women with breast cancer

Danielle Riordan was just 31 years old when she found a lump in her breast.

“I was getting undressed to get in the shower. I had a sports bra on, and I just kind of scratched. That’s when I felt the lump.”

Danielle made an appointment at Aurora Medical Center Summit, where she had a mammogram and a biopsy. She remembers not being too worried. After all, she was only 31 years old and no one in her family had ever had breast cancer.

Then came the call from Debbie Hall, RN, a cancer nurse navigator.

“I was with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and I was thinking there’s no history in my family, this is just going to be them telling me I’m fine,” said Danielle. “So I stepped away to take her call to hear her say, ‘I’m sorry, you have breast cancer.’”

Danielle had six months of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and breast reduction surgery, 33 rounds of radiation and a year of immunotherapy.

Through it all, she still had to be a mom to her two young daughters.

“They were seven and eight years old, but they were just awesome,” recalled Danielle. “They helped with the cooking and cleaning. We also have chickens and they helped care for them too. They were just amazing.”

New technology needed

When Danielle had surgery, she was under anesthesia for five and a half hours, in part because of the complexity of the procedure, but also because her surgeon had to wait for a radiologist to determine whether the correct tissue had been removed.

You could help change that by supporting the purchase of new Faxitron technology.

“Faxitron equipment will have a great impact on what I do on a daily basis,” said breast surgeon Michael Bergom, MD. “Prior to surgery, patients have a biopsy clip placed to mark where the cancer is. When we’re in the operating room, we make a small incision and take out the tumor. But to confirm whether we have the proper tissue, we need to take an X-ray of that tumor.”

That can mean a delay of up to 30 minutes during surgery, while the patient remains under anesthesia and the operating team waits for the results.

“With the Faxitron machine, we’d be able to confirm we took out the right tissue in near-real time – right in the operating room,” explained Dr. Bergom. “We’d take out the specimen, put it in the machine, and 30 seconds later, we’d have our answer.”

For the patient, it would mean less time under anesthesia and a quicker surgery. It would also bring them peace of mind knowing the surgeon can confirm the tumor was removed immediately.

“This is the best of the best technology,” said Danielle. “Why wouldn’t you want that for somebody?”

Danielle will always be grateful for the care she received at Aurora Medical Center Summit.

“The care that I received was amazing,” she shared. “If you have to go through the cancer journey, find the people who care about you. Find the people who want to see you feel good during your journey. At Aurora in Summit, that’s where you’ll find those doctors.”

How you can help

You can help ensure women like Danielle have access to this technology by supporting women's health initiatives at Aurora Medical Center Summit. To make a gift, click here. For more information, please contact Megan Van Deurzen at 262-434-1062 or

Dr. Michael Bergom with breast cancer survivor Danielle Riordan

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