Valley doctor creates first center to focus exclusively on women fighting breast cancer
Dr. Coral Quiet is anything but … quiet, that is. This busy mother of two has been one of the loudest voices in Arizona’s war against breast cancer for more than two decades.
“When I moved to Arizona in the early-1990s, I was horrified to learn that not only were there ZERO breast cancer-only specialists, but that nearly 80 percent of breast cancer patients in Arizona were being treated with mastectomies, a number exponentially higher than the national average,” said Quiet.
A mastectomy, which is the complete surgical removal of the breast and necessary in aggressive cases, is disfiguring to a woman.
Determined to make a difference, Quiet began focusing her care here in the Valley solely on breast cancer treatment, research and education. While touching the lives of women one-at-a- time was making a difference, by the late 1990s she wanted to do more.
So, in 1998, she co-founded the Arizona Institute for Breast Health with Dr. Belinda Barclay-White, which offers women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion, free of charge.
Quiet tirelessly works to bring a volunteer team of physicians and medical professionals whose specialties include breast radiology, breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, reconstructive surgery, and breast pathology into one room each week to evaluate the best medical and surgical options for the preservation of a woman’s life, body and emotional well-being.
But she didn’t stop there.
In 1999, Quiet attended an international breast cancer conference and had the chance to meet Dr. Robert Kuske, who was presenting early results of his new treatment for breast cancer called Brachytherapy, an accelerated five-day treatment for selected patients with early stage breast cancer that treats a much smaller volume of breast and other tissues and avoids treating the breast skin with radiation.
Never one to bother with “Quiet” time, she not only introduced brachytherapy in Arizona in the early 2000s, but she eventually convinced Kuske to come and practice in Arizona as well.
Over the next several years, she helped to pioneer the Mammosite catheter for FDA studies and pioneered a new device, SAVI, which is able to treat many more women with early stage breast cancer while avoiding high doses of radiation to skin and ribs. She also took time out to act as a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, lecturing and volunteering for the organization where she could.
As the number of women getting mastectomies declined, and those choosing body and breast-conserving treatments like brachytherapy and SAVI skyrocketed, Dr. Quiet decided to make even more noise.
Determined to provide the same level of customized care to non-breast cancer patients, Quiet and Kuske also developed a secondary practice, Arizona Radiation Oncology Specialists, with the goal of partnering cancer experts statewide with cutting-edge cancer technologies to maximize patient care. With the help of new partners, they have opened three Arizona Radiation Oncology Specialists centers in the past three years, while investing in technologies new to the Southwest.
“I’ll get my quiet time when I’m dead,” said Dr. Quiet. “Today, the fight continues in the war against cancer – a war we will win.”