Donna — What’s FEAR got to do with it?

by Donna Pinto

Even with a stage zero, pre-cancer diagnosis such as DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), somehow the word CARCINOMA is all we hear and focus on.  With that one word, we imagine the worst, the “what if…”  This feeling is often reinforced by the (well-intentioned) people who work in the mainstream cancer industry (oncologists, radiologists, mammographers, surgeons, nurses, pathologists, etc.)  Even loved ones unintentionally add fuel to what feels like a collective DNA of FEAR around the “C” word.

I experienced this FEAR first-hand on January 19, 2010. I had a wide excision (surgical) biopsy a week earlier.  “You have DCIS,” said Susan, the Breast Specialist RN. “And although it is considered pre-cancer, we treat it as if it is CANCER.”  She quickly sketched out a picture and continued… “Here are your treatment options:  Partial mastectomy and 7 weeks of daily radiation OR mastectomy.”  

Total shock is an understatement. I could not wrap my mind around the whole thing. Something didn’t feel right – but what choice did I have? That evening I decided to send an email to all my friends and family.  Subject line: Good news/bad news.   I explained that the bad news was I had been diagnosed with DCIS, but the good news was that it was “stage zero/pre-cancer” and treatable with very positive outcomes. I revealed what I was told were my options/next steps.

The next day, I received a call from Adriana, my dear friend who also happened to be a holistic-minded nutritionist. With her Colombian accent, Adriana insisted, “no-no-no…. you mustn’t do these invasive treatments. You must come see me immediately.”

Adriana gave me a crash course in detoxification, alkalizing the body, organic foods, supplements and the body’s ability to heal when given the right environment and resources. She talked with me about what cancer is from a cellular perspective and assured me that DCIS was NOT invasive cancer and NOTHING to be in FEAR of. From her perspective, it was the FEAR that was the worst part of a DCIS diagnosis. Adriana told me any decision made from FEAR was not a good decision. She continually reminded me to stay calm, breathe deeply and investigate. And I did just that. Please see my blog post “An Angel Called Adriana.”

Over 3 years have passed since my initial DCIS diagnosis. Despite the fact that I chose not to have the recommended radiation or mastectomy, the FEAR that I once felt is completely gone. Why? Because I took the time to understand and analyze my particular DCIS diagnosis; I sought out expert 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinions; I found support from other women with similar feelings about potential overtreatment of DCIS; and I became empowered with information.

Overcoming the FEAR of cancer initiating, progressing or recurring is truly the greatest hurdle following a diagnosis of DCIS.  I hope by sharing my story, insights and resources, I may offer comfort, support and a guiding light.   (To read more about my story, please see: “Donna’s Journey.”

Soul sisters united in health and healing FROM THE INSIDE OUT! Adriana & Donna August 2010

Soul sisters united in health and healing FROM THE INSIDE OUT! Adriana & Donna August 2010

10 thoughts on “Donna — What’s FEAR got to do with it?”

  1. Lesley Kennedy said:

    Hi Donna
    I was diagnosed with “High grade” DCIS on the 5th September 2013 and 12 days later they had me scheduled for the surgery to remove my right breast. I am only 46 years old. Thankfully for me I am following a different path to health and healing. A very similar path to yourself. The mind and body play a major part and that is the road I am taking.

    I live in Australia and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to read your website it provides me with some reassurance that what I am undertaking is the right path. We can only make these decision ourselves even if those around us don’t support us. But that is also part of the healing process you discard negative people in your life to be able to heal and make a better life for yourself. When the doctor say’s you have “C” you think of FEAR, but hey don’t good things come out of hardship. I am blessed that I have been given this, so I can reflect on my life at a very inner level.

    Do you have any stories or contacts of people in Australia that haven’t taken the radical steps of surgery for DCIS.

    Stay happy and healthy you look radiant and I know I will too, very soon. Take CARE..

    Regards Lesley

    • Hi Lesley,
      Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing your story a bit here. One of the goals of this site is to add more stories of those taking a more holistic, less aggressive path for DCIS treatment so that we may all learn from one another. I do not know of anyone in Australia who I could put you in touch with, but by you posting your inquiry here, someone may turn up. I will keep you in mind should I come across others in Australia “on the path.” Please keep in touch and feel free to ask any questions you may have. Blessings of health and peace, Donna

  2. Hi Donna,

    How are you doing now? Did you go for lumpectomy in 2010?
    I was diagnosed with DCIS -stage zero last year and had Lumpectomy. with no other treatment.
    Last week I went for yearly mammography and there is a small mass close to my DCIS. I am going for biopsy again next week. Just confused with what to do?

    Thank you.

    • Hi there,
      You may want to request and MRI or an automated whole breast ultrasound before biopsy. That’s what I would do. Let me know if you do have the biopsy and what the results are and I can help give some insights, resources and support.

      I am doing great. You can read more of my story at I will be posting an update soon, so best to “follow” my blog or “like” my page on Facebook for latest posts and updates.

      Much love and light,


      • Hello Donna,

        Thank you very much for your reply. Result of my second biopsy was not good. Now I have invasive DCIS stage I with only ER +. I went for second opinion with Dr.Lagios and he agrees with my both biopsy results. I had second Lumpectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy in Dec. Out of nine margins removed; DCIS was seen in two margins and lymph nodes were negative. After this I had MRI done and no suspicious enhancement was seen. My oncologist have requested MammaPrint test. Have not received results back yet.

        Now my treatment plan (from my Surgeon, Oncologist and radiologist)
        1. Remove more margins and 3 weeks of radiation.
        2.. If I decide not to remove more margin and not go through third lumpectomy then four weeks of radiation
        3. Plus Five years of hormone therapy.

        I am confused between 1 and 2 (What to do) and over all is this the right treatment I need?

        Have you come across any one like this through your website?

        Any suggestions will appreciated.

        I do follow you on Twitter.

        Thank you for your time and help,


  3. Jodi Rudick said:

    Hello, I am 51 and was diagnosed with stage zero DCIS, intermediate grade. I have had two opinions resulting the same answer. I also had a mammogram, ultrasound, a biopsy and then an excision biopsy. I have two areas of large calcifications and doctor not sure if got it all out due to the closeness to the nipple. This whole thing started since I was bleeding from the nipple. Now it is recommended to get a mastectomy since it is such a large area. I can’t seem to find any suggestions or people with my similar situation. any input is appreciated. thank you, Jodi

    • Hi Jodi, are you a member of on the Alternative DCIS Facebook group? Angela had a bleeding nipple (papiloma) and high grade DCIS. She had papiloma removed surgically but did all natural protocol for the high grade DCIS and it shrunk away over the last 3 years. Here is the link to join and pose your question:
      Mastectomy is radical for DCIS. I would suggest a dedicated breast MRI.
      Blessings, Donna

      • Thank you for your response. I’m so torn on what to do. I don’t think I can do the mri since I can’t tolerate the dye. I’m getting genetic testing done. I was told since I have so much calcification it’s hard to save the breast. I’m healthy and follow alternative lifestyle and work with a functional doctor and functional alternative oncologist following anti cancer diet. Still have the intermediate DCIS. I joined the Facebook group you suggested. Thanks.

      • Jodi, where do you live? I would advise a 2nd opinion on pathology and also seek another opinion from a surgeon. You have time. Intermediate DCIS is not life-threatening!! Do not let doctors scare you or pressure you! Are you having the Oncotype for DCIS test done?

      • Donna,
        I live in Maryland. I met with two surgeons at two separate hospitals. They both advised the same thing. All of my tests showed DCIS. My sister had a rare skin cancer that apparently correlated to higher risk of breast cancer in family. Cancer does run in my family, but not breast cancer. Interesting to see the results of genetic testing. I plan to ask for the oncotype test and braca done.

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