Nicole Berlin of Lakeland was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in SITU (DCIS) in May of 2021, but thanks to her family, friends, and the community she’s been able to keep her spirits high.

Lakeland Woman Says ‘One Act Of Kindness’ Could Change Her World After Ductal Carcinoma Diagnosis

LAKELAND, Fla. – Nicole Berlin of Lakeland was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in SITU (DCIS) in May of 2021, but thanks to her family, friends, and the community she’s been able to keep her spirits high.

DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma or stage 0 breast cancer. DCIS is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. This means the cells that line the ducts have changed to cancer cells but they have not spread through the walls of the ducts into the nearby breast tissue.

Because DCIS hasn’t spread into the breast tissue around it, it can’t spread (metastasize) beyond the breast to other parts of the body.

Nicole Berlin of Lakeland was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in SITU (DCIS) in May of 2021, but thanks to her family, friends, and the community she’s been able to keep her spirits high.
Nicole Berlin

However, DCIS can sometimes become an invasive cancer. At that time, the cancer has spread out of the duct into nearby tissue, and from there, it could metastasize to other parts of the body.

Currently, there’s no good way to know for sure which will become invasive cancer and which ones won’t, so almost all women with DCIS will be treated.

In most cases, a woman with DCIS can choose between breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and simple mastectomy. Radiation is usually given after BCS.

After consulting with many surgeons, 50-year-old Berlin is having a mastectomy.

“My diagnosis was May 2021. Some people may wonder why I waited so long. It was because I researched and visited 4 surgeons before running and jumping on the surgery table. I finally found a surgeon, Dr. Ankit Desai, with Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville Florida, that does amazing work and has amazing credentials,” said Berlin. “My surgery is scheduled for Sept 26th Monday this year 2022 one month from now.”

Berlin works as an estimate writer for Class A motorhomes at Creative Coach Collison Repair in Lakeland, and was previously a sales representative for The Ledger newspaper in Lakeland.

The surgery will require time off from her duties, “I am single paying all my own bills so I’m trying to keep everything going while I’m out of work for 4 to 6 weeks. It’s is going to be difficult,” said Berlin. “The cost of the medical alone this year has been draining.”

After speaking with some friends and family, a GiveSendGo fundraiser was launched to assist Berlin through her time off of work and to help cover some of the medical expenses of her surgery.

“The help from the community would make me feel like I mean something to this world and there are good people who care. That the small acts of kindness I have done in my life, from raising two families to every friend and person I believed in and helped, that all this bad in the world can just diminish and be gone by this one act of kindness for me,” said Berlin.

“I will support women and help them make smart decisions before surgery to help them learn that this is ultimately their decision who operates on them and this is a very big deal. Research and find confidence in the surgeon before putting your outcome in someone’s hands. Medical care is our responsibility also and feeling good about who we choose lessens the pain emotionally,” said Berlin.

The outlook after DCIS diagnosis is encouraging said Bonnie Sun, M.D., of Johns Hopkins’ breast center.

“Our expectation is for a complete resolution of the problem with proper treatment. This is a local disease and treatment by surgery can be sufficient. Chemotherapy isn’t necessary, and in some cases, hormone medication and radiation aren’t either,” said Sun.

To learn more about Nicole or contribute to her fundraiser, please click here to be redirected to the fundraising page.

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