Breast cancer throws woman living a peaceful life through a loop

Headshot of Beverly Bomba, a 73-year-old woman from New York who had breast cancer treatment at Northern Dutchess Hospital.


“I had just about given up hope and was scared to death,” Beverly Bomba said after getting diagnosed with breast cancer.


Beverly Bomba, 73, has always been healthy and rarely went to the doctor. So when she suddenly had a strong feeling to have a women’s health checkup, she listened to it.


“The nagging feeling wouldn’t go away. Even though I didn’t feel sick, I made an appointment with my primary care doctor, and then they referred me to a gynecologist,” Beverly said.


Breast cancer diagnosis


Beverly’s gynecologist recommended she have a screening mammogram, and good thing she did. The mammogram showed a spot in her left breast that prompted her doctor to also order a breast ultrasound.



“I panicked and hoped it was just a cyst,” Beverly said. In 1998, Beverly had a cyst that was drained and benign (not cancerous).


But a biopsy result confirmed Beverly had breast cancer.



Beverly was especially worried because her husband had passed away from cancer.


“It was difficult to not have my husband for support,” Beverly said.


Breast cancer treatment


Beverly had been having a hard time finding the right cancer care for her. She felt like she was not getting answers to her questions or treatment options from her original care team.


“I had just about given up hope and was scared to death,” Beverly said.


Beverly’s primary care doctor helped her by suggesting she see Dr. Lisa D. Curcio, director of the breast program at Northern Dutchess Hospital, part of Nuvance Health.


“I was surprised when I got to see Dr. Curcio quickly. She spent an hour with me and explained everything from A to Z,” Beverly said. “We had a connection right away.”


At Nuvance Health, breast cancer care teams include many subspecialists who collaborate closely. The team includes surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, radiology, nurse navigators, genetic counselors, nutritionists, social workers, therapists and more.


“My doctors were on the same page with each other,” Beverly said.



Medical oncology for breast cancer


Beverly first needed hormone therapy to reduce the size of the tumor before she could have surgery to remove it.


Dr. Curcio connected Beverly with Dr. Stephen Malamud, the regional director of medical oncology at Nuvance Health in New York. He is a fellowship-trained, board-certified hematologist/oncologist.


“Dr. Malamud gave me treatment options to manage side effects from the initial medication I was taking,” Beverly said. “He advocated and went above and beyond for me.”


The hormone therapy shrunk the tumor enough so Beverly could have surgery.


Surgery for breast cancer


In March 2023, Dr. Curcio performed a partial mastectomy, also called a lumpectomy.


Dr. Curcio is a fellowship-trained, board-certified breast surgeon. She performs oncoplastic breast surgery to remove the cancer and also achieve the best possible cosmetic outcomes.



Radiation therapy for breast cancer


After surgery, Beverly had 15 rounds of radiation therapy under the care of fellowship-trained radiation oncologist Dr. Patrick Navolanic.


“I had some fatigue after radiation. Some days, I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. But I said, ‘Nope, I’m going to get up and do what I have to do.’ ” Beverly said.



Beverly had genomic testing to determine if she would benefit from chemotherapy after surgery, which she did not need.



After Beverly’s checkup in August 2023 she said, “I felt like the world was lifted off my mind when Dr. Curcio said, ‘You are cancer free.’ ”


Life after breast cancer


Beverly will continue oral hormone therapy for five years to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.


Beverly said she is feeling “pretty good.” She is building her strength by walking. She enjoys spending time with her son, daughter-in-law, and 13- and 15-year-old grandkids who live next door. To them, she is Memah, and she has loved being able to watch them grow up.


Beverly’s son built her a house next door to theirs in Tillson, New York.


“It’s like living in a treehouse,” Beverly said. She loves the peacefulness of living in the woods, surrounded by nature and family.


She also has a cat who “keeps me on my toes,” Beverly said. 


Beverly got Jack Spratt, fondly known as Jackie, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.


“I needed something to cuddle,” Beverly said.

Black cat in a living room.


Beverly recently visited her son, who lives in Florida, for the first time in two years and looks forward to visiting more.


Beverly got through breast cancer with help from her care team, family and friends.


Like many parents, she did not want her kids to worry about her. She lived with breast cancer for 10 months before she told them. 


“I needed to know what was happening and what the outcome would be before putting it on them,” Beverly said.


“I was uncertain about what was going to happen before meeting Dr. Curcio. After I met her, I shared what was happening with my kids,” Beverly said. “Dr. Curcio gave me hope and strength.”


“I trusted Dr. Curcio and felt like this was a calling for her,” Beverly said. And, she was right.


As a breast cancer survivor, Dr. Curcio has dedicated her career to caring for others and helping them thrive after cancer.



“The whole team spent time with me, explained everything in detail and gave me options, which was very reassuring,” Beverly said.


Beverly’s sons, daughter-in-law, grandkids and nieces were a great support for her.


“They changed my life, always asking if I needed anything and helping me,” Beverly said.


Her friend Brenda was also there for her every step of the way.


“When I told Brenda I had breast cancer, we both cried. She came to all my appointments and brought me cookies and soup when I wasn’t feeling well,” Beverly said. “She’s a godsend and a real true friend.”


Beverly is a “woman of faith” and also appreciates the support from her faith community.


“I’m very thankful to have people like this in my life,” Beverly said.


Disclaimer: Outcomes from cancer vary from person to person. No individual results should be seen as typical.