PATIENT STORY: Four Years Later, Lorel Toscani Is a Survivor

May 29th, 2020

Lorel Toscani of Pennsburg got married just seven months after meeting her future husband, Alessandro. Today, they’re wedded for 47 years. They celebrate regularly with trips to see Alessandro’s family in Italy. But one trip four years ago brought concern.

“I found something high up on my breast; it almost felt like a bone,” Lorel says. Concerned, she reached out to her obstetrician/gynecologist at Grand View Health, Elizabeth Hamilton, MD, with Grand View Health OB/GYN, who sent her to see breast surgical oncologist Monique Gary, DO, Medical Director of Grand View Health’s Oncology Program.

Toscani had Stage 2 invasive lobular carcinoma. “It’s hard to find because it doesn’t show up well on mammograms, ultrasound, PT scan or MRI,” Dr. Gary says. A biopsy eventually detected Lorel’s malignancy.

During one of her biopsies, Dr. Gary won over Lorel. “She sat through the whole thing and held my hand because I was so nervous,” Lorel says. “She is the warmest person I ever met.”

On October 30, 2015—Alessandro’s birthday—Lorel had her first lumpectomy (partial mastectomy), which removed most of the cancer. A second surgery followed. Afterward, Lorel’s care team confirmed she had clear margins, which meant no visible cancer cells remained.

To lower the risk for cancer recurrence, Lorel underwent six weeks of radiation therapy and began taking a daily dose of Letrozole, a medication that lowers estrogen production. She continues on Letrozole today. She also follows up with her Grand View Health team every three months. And now, nearly four years later at age 69, she remains cancer-free.

Lorel has lost 19 pounds and stays active through bowling, exercising at the YMCA in Pennsburg, and taking walks with Alessandro. “I went as far as six miles in one walk last year,” Lorel says.

“Lorel is a dynamo,” Dr. Gary says. “The way she takes ownership of her health inspires me.”

Lorel and Alessandro had hoped to make a return trip to Venice earlier this year, but travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to cancel. So, the Toscanis are staying close to home while enjoying each other’s company. “I’m grateful everything worked out and that we have more time together,” Lorel says.

Learn more about cancer care at Grand View Health.