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Something Fishy About New Breast Cancer Treatment

March 7, 2012

SEATTLE — There’s a new weapon in the war against breast cancer.

 

It’s not a new medicine. It’s not a new procedure.

It’s… fly fishing?

 

Marie Tobin is a breast cancer patient, and she credits several things with making her a breast cancer survivor.

 

She said early detection through a self-exam was key. But since then, she’s been through two surgeries, radiation twice, and chemotherapy in a pill form.

 

And now, fly fishing.

 

On Saturday, she’ll cast on the Yakima River with 11 other patients.

 

“This represents life,” Tobin said. “This represents new adventures and being in the moment.”

 

There is a medical benefit too. The motion of casting helps combat side effects of breast cancer treatment — like swelling and stiffness in the arm and shoulder.

 

A breast cancer survivor says for her, a trip in the fall was nothing short of life changing.

 

“You go out there with other women in your same boat, no pun intended. They are,” said Cathy Jenkins. “You’ve all been fighting the same battle. You go out there and the battle is with that fly rod and the water. And everything else doesn’t matter.”

 

This weekend’s trip will be the third through Northwest Hospital. But for Marie Tobin, it is the first.

It will be her first time with a fly fishing rod, and her first time using fishing as therapy.

 

“I am so excited about this,” she said. “I can hardly wait.”

 

A radiation oncologist at Northwest Hospital came up with the trip. Cooper’s Guide Service and Yakima River Fly Shop provide everything else the women need for a successful, fun and therapeutic day on the river.

 

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sandra.vermeulen@swedish.org

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DR. SANDRA VERMEULEN

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