LEXINGTON, Ky.(WKYT)- October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time to celebrate and honor those affected by the terrible disease. One Lexington woman is speaking out about her fight and how some new technology played a role in her lifesaving treatment.
For the last year Lori Beth Miller has been on a journey that she says wasn't always easy.
"It's certainly not a walk in the park," said Lori Beth Miller.
For Miller breast cancer was something she never saw coming, in fact self-exams were like clockwork.
"I had been giving myself self-exams and I had been very conscientious of that. I had been getting mammograms since I was 40," said Miller.
That self-awareness was lifesaving, in 2016 she found a lump just ten days before her annual exam. Days later she learned she had stage two breast cancer.
"Literally within the half hour the nurse navigator was in touch and said how do you want to move forward? I said, right now I'm available to make this my number one priority, so you tell me show we want to proceed," said Miller.
Miller had chemo and then a lumpectomy. For radiation doctors turned to new technology at KentuckyOne Health Cancer Care-Lexington.
It's called the Versa HD accelerator. Patient are placed on a table that can move in six directions with a built in cat scan that allows for a tailored target of the tumor for each patient. Limiting organs like the heart from unnecessary radiation can be difficult. A perk of the Versa is the Active Breathing Coordinator System. Miller was a candidate because of her cancer in her left breast.
"The idea is a fairly simple idea, but when you take a deep breath it may move the breast farther away from the heart and so we are able to deliver radiation to the breast and avoid the heart even more," said Dr. Jackie Matar, a radiation oncologist.
Miller was able to utilize this technology that she says was easy and painless.
"You put a mouth piece in, it's much like a snorkeling mouth piece and you connect to a computer and you inhale to a level that is comfortable.
It is a new approach designed to shorten treatment time and reduce side effects, a combination that has paid off for Lori Beth Miller, now a cancer survivor.
"There are so many good things out there after cancer, I never thought it would be the end of me," said Miller.
KentuckyOne Health Cancer Care at Saint Joseph Hospital has invested $3 million in this radiation oncology technology. As for Miller, she now shares her story with others and takes part in the Cancer Care Support Group.