As sisters, Neysa Coy and Nayda Coy-Sabosik have a lot in common: a love of reading, an infectious laugh, and a positive mindset. Unfortunately, they also share a history of breast health issues. Neysa, 43, had a precautionary mammogram two decades ago because she was concerned about her family’s history of cancer. The mammogram found a suspicious lump. Her OBGYN referred her to breast surgeon John Pellegrino, MD, who determined that she had benign breast disease, a condition that occurs when noncancerous cysts develop.
“Benign breast disease is a common chronic condition,” Dr. Pellegrino explains. “Because it can mimic breast cancer, we take a proactive approach and biopsy all suspicious lumps.”
“I was relieved to learn that it wasn’t cancer,” says Neysa, a Jackson resident and mother to three adopted children. “Since breast cancer and colon cancer run in the family, I knew my risk was higher than most.”
She has since had many breast cysts removed, or aspirated, through a procedure that uses a local anesthetic and a thin needle to withdraw fluid. She’s also had two biopsies to test suspicious lesions for cancer. Both were negative.
Neysa sees Dr. Pellegrino twice a year for proactive testing. She exercises regularly and uses yoga and meditation to relax.
Annual Mammogram Finds Stage 1 Cancer
After years of annual mammograms, Neysa’s sister, Nayda, 51, skipped getting one in 2017. When a mammogram in August 2018 was abnormal, Dr. Pellegrino ordered an MRI and biopsy of her left breast. The tests discovered ductal carcinoma in SITU, a preinvasive stage 1 form of breast cancer.
“It comes as a surprise when they say it’s you,” says Nayda, a Howell resident, of her cancer diagnosis. “What if I had waited longer to get a mammogram?”
Dr. Pellegrino performed a lumpectomy in September to remove the mass. During the procedure, however, he found that the disease was more extensive than originally thought. Nayda underwent another surgery in October to remove the cancerous cells. Fortunately, the disease was caught before it involved her lymph nodes.
“I have a great support system in my sisters, Neysa and Niurka, and in my mother, son, and friends,” says Nayda.
Now cancer-free, she takes medication to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. She’s eating better, exercising more, and relaxing when her body tells her to.
Both women completed genetic testing at CentraState to determine if they were genetically predisposed to developing cancer; the tests were negative. The sisters support breast cancer causes and promote getting self-exams and annual mammograms to friends and family.
For more information about breast health at CentraState, visit centrastatecancercenter.com or call 855-411-CANCER (855-411-2262).