When Marylou Depondicchello decided to have a breast augmentation “to do something nice” for herself while turning 40, she never expected that her plastic surgeon would save her life.
That’s what happened when Honolulu, HI plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Schlesinger performed an armpit incision breast augmentation on Depondicchello at his Breast Implant Center of Hawaii practice this summer. Dr. Schlesinger felt a tumor during the procedure and removed it for testing, which turned out to be malignant.
“Once I was certain of what I was saying, I called Marylou and her husband and told her that she had cancer from some place, we didn’t know where, and that I’d get her to the right people and help her out,” Dr. Schlesinger said.
Less than a week later, Depondicchello met medical oncologist Dr. Michael Castro.
“Breast cancer treatment and cancer treatment in general is a multidisciplinary task,” Castro said. “It takes a village as they say, and that includes all the medical subspecialties, the surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists.” He added that in his two decades of work, he has never had a referral from a plastic surgeon.
Castro said Depondicchello has a curable case. She has a type of breast cancer called triple positive, according to Castro, who said that this type is where there has been the most progress toward shutting down the bad acting biology.
“The key and really important thing is, if Marylou had gone to someone who went through the nipple [to perform the breast augmentation] .. that tumor would be growing and growing and metastasizing to other parts of her body and who knows when they finally would have discovered it,” Schlessinger said.
Learn more about this incredible story in this video with Depondicchello, Dr. Schlesinger, and Dr. Castro. To learn more about Dr. Schlesinger, read our LocateADoc Q&A interview with him.