Patient Care

Melanie Wolk

May. 4, 2016
HER2+ Breast Cancer

Melanie Wolk watched woman after woman leave the waiting room where she sat after her mammogram in the fall of 2015. As they came and went, she began to suspect that something might be wrong.

A biopsy confirmed that she had a complicated HER2+ breast cancer. HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein on the surface of cancer cells that helps control cell growth. When too much HER2 is present, cancer cells tend to grow more quickly and are more likely to spread.

“I was in just utter denial,” she recalls. “It can’t be me.”

With a 2-year-old son at home, Melanie and her husband Jeremy began searching for the best team to treat her cancer. She chose Wilmot’s Comprehensive Breast Care at Pluta. 

She began chemotherapy in October with Alissa Huston, M.D., who recommended two medications that target the HER2 protein.

“This medication and this drug interaction isn’t being given all over the United States,” says Melanie. For her, being treated at a cancer center that also conducts research was important.

“The facilities that lack that research component kind of have something missing because it doesn’t give that patient the ability to give something back, and that’s been very important to me,” she says.

In March, Melanie had a double mastectomy, and she is doing well.

“You know, I guess it’s never crossed my mind I wouldn’t be cancer-free,” she says. “I know it’s weird to say, but it’s never crossed my mind.”