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Carol knocked out breast cancer – twice
March 28, 2014

Carol LaRegina underwent breast reconstruction surgery following her mastectomy, then again after choosing to undergo prophylactic mastectomy on her other breast. The confidence she gained from the first experience gave her the strength to go through the procedures a second time.

When Carol LaRegina of Louisburg, NC, learned she had breast cancer, a work colleague suggested she go to Duke. “I had a lumpectomy followed by radiation and chemotherapy,” she says. “And life moved on.” But four years later, Carol discovered another lump in the same breast. It was cancer, again, but of a different type. She then had a mastectomy followed by more chemotherapy.

After her mastectomy, Carol decided on breast reconstruction surgery.  She went to see Michael Zenn, MD, a Duke reconstructive and plastic surgeon. “I knew within two minutes he was the one who was going to take care of me,” she says. "He gave me my life back. For me, I missed my breast, and was not comfortable with the scar. After the surgery, I was able to move forward because I felt whole again."

Fitness is important to Carol. Exercise and staying healthy is a big part of her life. So it was probably no surprise to anyone who knew her when she decided to have prophylactic (preventive) surgery –- a mastectomy of the other breast. Then, she had her second reconstruction.

Because of Carol’s first experience at Duke, she felt confident the second time. “After going through it the first time at Duke, there was never any doubt the second time,” she says.

“It is amazing the faith you put in your doctors. I put my life in their hands and never regretted it."

Learn more about breast reconstruction at Duke

Breast reconstruction