AUSTIN (KXAN) - When Susan Lubin was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, her friend of 30 years, Marcia Levy, was determined not to let her go through it alone.
"I was heartbroken for her," said Levy. "We're more like sisters. Our families and our lives are intersected in many ways."
But Lubin, who is married to a physician, admits her experience was unique. She had quick access to the best care and caught her cancer early. Within two weeks of her diagnosis, she underwent a double mastectomy and was declared cancer free.
"Most women go to their internist or their gynecologist and then they get an appointment at the radiologist and then if it's positive they go to the surgeon and then if it's positive they go over to the radiologist and it can take months- we like to call it the chaos of care," said Lubin. "I thought, if we had a comprehensive breast cancer center, everyone could have the same fortunate experience as far as how long it took you to get diagnosed and treated- as I did."
So the two friends got to work. They pitched their idea of a comprehensive breast care center to Seton and began fundraising for the $8 million project. The goal is a single location where women can get comprehensive breast cancer care from diagnosis to recovery and beyond without having to leave Austin- something survivor Sarah Mansour needed during her battle 7 years ago.
"My diagnosis with breast cancer was a shock and my life and the life of my family was changed forever," she said.
Mansour was diagnosed when her daughter was 3-and her son just 18 months old. She had to navigate the frightening beginning of her breast cancer journey by traveling to other cities for second and third and fourth opinions about her course of treatment.
All of these trips left us confused and overwhelmed by which direction to go," she said. "All I wanted to do was stay here in Austin. I wanted to be with my children."
"There are many surgeons in the community that will be able to participate and do biopsies there at the center for their patients for diagnostics which currently is not usually the way that's performed within the Seton system," said Dr. Debra Patt, an oncologist and Medical Director for the new center. "I love my patients- and I tell people almost every day that they have a new diagnosis of cancer and I walk people through that journey and I know that usually it is the most traumatic thing that's happened to them. We want to make that easier. We want to make that better."
The final leg of the fundraising effort to raise $1.5 million of the $6.5 million needed began Thursday with the Seton PINK Army - a group of volunteers dedicated to reaching the fundraising goal.
"It's a thrill to see our dream almost realized- knowing that we're going to realize it very very soon- its just thrilling," said Lubin.
The center is scheduled to open in Spring 2013.
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