LA QUINTA, Calif. - When weighing her options on how to treat her breast cancer, Rosie Anter wanted to keep her life and her body in tact as much as possible.
"They wanted to do a mastectomy to me and I thought I was too young, I want to look good," Anter said.
After going from hospital to hospital and doctor to doctor, she met Dr. Phillip Bretz of Visionary Breast Center in La Quinta.
"My goal has always been to preserve mind, body and spirit and I don't take that lightly," Dr. Bretz said.
His career, and the lives of many women, including Rosie's, changed when he realized something.
"You don't have to be so aggressive with surgery and make it so that a lady doesn't want to go out of her house," he said.
It's called The Lavender Procedure.
"When I first did it I knew I was walking out hallowed ground," he said.
Dr. bretz uses state-of-the-art, FDA approved diagnostic machines to find ultra-small tumors. He inserts this probe into the tumor.
"When it's in the right place, we hit the button and liquid nitrogen goes right through there and kills the tumor. It's a simple as that," Dr. Bretz said.
Twenty minutes- no pain, no surgery, no stitches, no recovery. Nothing gets removed.
"It just stays there. We don't take it out; that creates a better cosmetic look at the end because you don't have a divot in the breast," he added.
After Rosie's procedure, "She said, I'm thirsty I want a glass of wine and something to eat. So we walked to Lavender Bistro, right across the street over there and within 15 minutes she was having Chardonnay and eating lobster salad and we were toasting to killing cancer," Dr. Bretz said.
So The Lavender Procedure got its name. That walk next door to Lavender Bistro so significant, when contrasted to the alternative - surgery recovery, prolonged chemotherapy, and complications from radiation.
"There was no scar no pain. I've had a lumpectomy prior to this and you're laying bed and have to wait until it heals and it's dramatic," Rosie noted.
Dr. Bretz says he's the only one in the valley performing such a procedure, and one of only a few in the country. Why don't more do it?
"I have to follow a cookbook and you better not deviate from that cookbook because the insurance companies are not going to like it well I'll tell you what. That's not how to treat a woman or anyone," Dr. Bretz said.
I asked Dr.Bretz about the RCA Mutation, a mutation of tumor suppressing genes making headlines as many women get precautionary mastectomies.
"Not all with BRCA 1 and 2 will get breast cancer but we follow it more closely so if it comes we will get it. It's not aggressive, it's just there," he said.
Dr. Bretz treated 14 patients in two years. They are all now breast cancer survivors, but one women who died of Alzheimers. He now looks at Rosie, whose oncologist told her she should have a double mastectomy.
"Two years after and I knew I had the cancer dead and I've been trying to do that for 30 years and I did it," he said with tears in his eyes.
Rosie can continue on her life -no stitches, no traumatic memories, nothing to put back together.
MEET THE DOCTOR:
Dr. Phillip Bretz of the Lavender Procedure will be at Thursday night's viewing party at Burgers and Beer. The address is 72773 Dinah Shore Dr. in Rancho Mirage. He will answer questions about the Lavender Procedure all evening starting at 4:30.
Join the viewing party here. Please arrive early, around 5:00 or 5:30, to get a spot for the 6:00 live hit in the newscast. Bianca Rae hopes to see you there.
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME:
Early detection is key. Dr. Bretz uses state-of-the-art, FDA approved diagnostic machines to find ultra-small tumors.
This is the probe Dr. Bretz uses to perform the Lavender Procedure. While mastectomies leave some women in recovery for months, this procedure leaves no need for even one stitch.Lavender Procedure probe leaves little mark, needs no stitch
Bianca Rae spent the last couple of months researching a very unique, minimally invasive procedure that kills breast cancer, and it's all performed by a local doctor.
The story airs Thursday, October 29th at 6 p.m. on KESQ News Channel 3. We're inviting you to come watch the story at Burgers and Beer that night. You can come early or stay late and grab a bite to eat as 20% of proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.
We would like the community to come together, in pink, and watch the story as we celebrate the culmination of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Bianca hopes to see you there. Join the Watch Party
- Burgers and Beer, 72773 Dinah Shore Dr. Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
- Thursday, October 29th - Story airs on KESQ at 6 p.m. - please arrive early
- 20% of proceeds 4:00-close go to the American Cancer Society
- Please wear pink