Renay Daigle was 32 years old and six months pregnant when she noticed a lump in her left breast. Even though she was sure it was nothing, Daigle decided to get it checked by her OB/GYN. She was referred to a surgeon who gave her a full exam and recommended a biopsy. The biopsy was performed the next day and, while still in the recovery room, Daigle was told she had breast cancer.
A second surgeon was consulted. He agreed with the first surgeon’s diagnosis and recommendation that Daigle should have a mastectomy as soon as possible. Both told her that, with a full three months to go before her baby’s birth, she couldn’t delay the surgery until after her daughter was born. The tumor was growing too fast and had to be removed immediately.
Concerned about her own health and the effects of surgery on her unborn child, Daigle and her husband chose to seek an alternative second opinion. This time from a pathologist.
Shahla Masood, MD, medical director of the UF Health Breast Center and chief of pathology and laboratory medicine at UF Health Jacksonville, has dedicated her life to breast health education and breast cancer research and is an advocate for second opinions. After reviewing the results of Daigle’s tests and viewing the tissue slides, she confirmed the diagnosis of breast cancer.
“Dr. Masood took the time to give me the information I needed to make an informed decision,” Daigle said. They discussed possible alternatives: lumpectomy versus mastectomy. Masood did not try to rush Daigle or apply any pressure and made sure she knew all about her various options.
Within a week of her initial diagnosis, Daigle elected to go ahead with a mastectomy. The final decision was based on what was best for the baby. “As bad as it was, I had peace with it. Because, thanks to Dr. Masood, I knew I made the best decision given the information I had at the time,” Daigle said.
The mastectomy was performed and Daigle and the baby came through the surgery with no complications. Three months later she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Bailey.
After the birth, Daigle was treated successfully with radiation and chemotherapy.
“Now,” she said. “I’m a cancer survivor 12 years out and have a beautiful 12 year-old girl to show for it.”
The comfort of a second opinion - UF Health Breast Center – Jacksonville
Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Program Director, Breast Pathology Fellowship; Medical Director, Breast Health Center; Program Director, Cytopathology Fellowship; Director of Research; Interim Director of Cancer Programs