Doctor continues caring for patients despite breast cancer diagnosis

Local News

EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An oncologist at DHR Health is caring for her patients while working through her own cancer diagnosis.

As a Gynecologic Oncologist, Dr. Lyubia Levine has been involved in cancer care for 20 years. She said she knew she was diagnosed with Stage 1C Breast Cancer in August 2020 after looking at the scans. 

“I went through the ultrasound biopsy, I already knew just looking at the images while they did the ultrasound. I have breast cancer,” she said. 

After taking a moment, Levine made a plan with her doctors about the next steps and the surgeries she would need.

“The first surgery went well, the reconstruction one I was a little bit more prepared mentally for the anesthesia part but I wasn’t that prepared for the reconstruction part. So that was a little bit more painful,” said Dr. Levine. 

After having a double mastectomy and a round of chemotherapy, Dr. Levine said she considers herself cancer-free but adds because breast cancer has the possibility of coming back, she is not treatment-free. 

“So I’m still taking hormonal therapy to prevent cancer from coming back so I’m not free from treatment,” said Dr. Levine. 

However, as she was going through treatment, her Nurse Practitioner Tiffany Ticer said Levine refused to let this slow her down. 

“It was just right after her mastectomy and she was just here the next day like ‘oh I’m here to see a patient or there’s a patient for me to see in the hospital’,” said Ticer. 

Dr. Levine said she continued to make treatment plans for her patients. She realized when talking to them that most women in the RGV feel almost guilty if they have to care for themselves. 

“I just told them like ‘we have bad news and we have good news. The bad news is that you have cancer. The good news is I already have all the appointments for you lined up’,” she said.

She said she has also joined a clinical study with her colleagues at MD Anderson, where they focus on Latino populations with a family history of cancer and help them get early preventive care without being diagnosed with cancer. Including, breaking down barriers with those families to educate and discuss the type of cancer they are experiencing.

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