For Beth Onesi, undergoing a mastectomy was the best choice after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
In fact, Onesi, 51, of Sunbury, chose to undergo the procedure not once but twice.
"I never thought about what I would do," she said. "When it happens you make up your mind fast."
Beth Onesi, center, is a multiple diagnosis breast cancer survivor. Breast cancer was found in one of her breasts in 2012 by Dr. Susan Branton, right, of Susquehanna Health’s Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center, and a mastectomy and breast reconstruction was performed by Susquehanna Health plastic surgeon Dr. Nathalie Lavallee, left.
In each case, Onesi also underwent immediate reconstructive breast surgery and came away happy with the results.
Susquehanna Health surgeons were able to work together to perform the procedures, resulting in faster recovery times for Onesi and sparing her some of the emotional anguish and questions that can result from losing a breast.
Onesi initially discovered a lump in her one breast through a self-examination in 2012.
She felt a mastectomy was her best option.
Onesi simply did not want to take any chances.
She recalled how her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.
Studies show that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases have a genetic component.
"Living was what mattered," she said. "I didn't choose to have a double mastectomy (at the time) because there was no reason to believe cancer was there."
Less than a year later, pre-cancerous cells were discovered in her other breast.
Onesi wasted no time in deciding to go ahead with a second mastectomy.
Dr. Susan Branton noted that while a mastectomy is the single best means of getting rid of breast cancer, it's not for everyone.
Other breast cancer patients seek any of various treatments.
"Most women ... they do a lot of soul-searching," Branton said. "It always boils down to a personal decision."
Branton said her job along with nurses and other staff at Susquehanna Health's Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center also involves counseling patients about what to do.
"Knowing I would get reconstructive surgery made it (decision) easier," Onesi said.
Dr. Nathalie Lavallee, who performed the reconstructive surgery, later inserted expanders into the reconstructed breast area. Liquid was inserted over time in the reconstructed area to expand and stretch breast tissue to make space for a permanent implant.
"I have been happy with everything," Onesi said.
Branton noted that Onesi had been very pro-active about avoiding breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women 40 years of age or older.
But many women, despite their best efforts to avoid cancer, still get the disease, Branton noted.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women.