Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Freeze Frame

Carole Meyers was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine mammography

When Carole Meyers was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine mammography in October, she couldn’t believe what her doctors wanted to do: “what they always did, which was to have the tumor surgically removed, poke around in my lymph nodes and then have radiation sessions,” she recalled.

A longtime painter and printmaker, Carole knew an inelegant solution when she saw one.

She sought out a second opinion and found one at Jefferson, where she was quickly referred to Alexander Sevrukov, MD, Associate Director in the Division of Breast Imaging. Taking into account her age and the tumor’s small size, he recommended cryoablation therapy, an experimental procedure only available to the Delaware Valley at Jefferson.

“When I go to Jeff, I take the train,” says the resolute 79-year-old former language arts teacher, “and then I walk over from Jefferson Station.” That didn’t change on the day of her procedure.

Lasting only 30 minutes, the cryoablation procedure involves inserting—under ultrasound guidance—a probe the size of a small needle into the tumor. Liquid nitrogen then circulates in the probe, freezing and destroying the tumor from the inside out. Afterward, the body gradually reclaims the dead tissue, replacing it with living, healthy cells.

Later that day, Carole walked back to Jefferson Station and caught a train home. “I just went on with my life normally,” she says, which in her case means serving as president of the American Color Print Society, where she organizes exhibitions and seminars, while still finding time to paint.

Founded in 1939, the ACPS was a “revolt against the black-and-white style that was the only thing accepted in printmaking at the time.” Like her Jefferson doctors, she could see beyond black-and-white and knew there was a revolutionary solution out there beyond one-size-fits-all treatments.

Today, she’s still thinking in color as she contemplates a solo show in Jenkintown. She says it’s the show, not cancer, “that’s been on my mind lately.” Indeed, the only way you’d know she’s had cancer is from a telltale lump that is fading fast and a pencil mark on her calendar, a reminder of her six-month follow-up.