The Tyanna Barre O’Brien

Breast Care Comfort Fund


Support before, during and after the fight against breast cancer

The Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Care Comfort Fund supports breast cancer awareness and education programs, early detection, and care for families facing breast cancer at Virtua.

Gifts made to Virtua Foundation in support of this fund bring added comfort to patients during the most difficult days. They also help educate people about early detection and breast health.

How Gifts Make a Difference:

  • The MarginProbe™ System is new technology that tests breast tissue in the operating room during a lumpectomy. It can eliminate the stress of waiting for test results and has the potential to cut the need for a second procedure by 50 percent.
  • Wigs, scarves, and pillows bring added comfort and peace of mind to breast cancer patients during and after treatment.
  • Durable medical goods, like lymph node sleeves, support the healing process.
  • Transportation assistance makes getting to and from appointments and treatment less of a burden for patients and their families.
  • Prescription assistance supports families who cannot afford medication critical to recovery.
  • Genetic Counseling can be life-saving for people at high risk of developing breast cancer. This is the next step after genetic testing and includes the explanation of results and care planning. It is often not covered by insurance.

The Tyanna Barre O’Brien Foundation

The Tyanna Barre O’Brien Foundation was established by five sisters who lost their mother to breast cancer when she was 48 years old.

Anne, Megan, Bridget, Sara and Katie O’Brien honor Tyanna by raising funds to support breast cancer education and awareness in the community. Their partnership with Virtua Foundation and pledge of ongoing support for Virtua patients led to the creation of the Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Care Comfort Fund and designation of the Women’s Health Unit at Virtua Voorhees, in Honor of Tyanna Barre O‘Brien.

New Technology Can Reduce Uncertainty for Breast Cancer Patients at Virtua

When patients have cancerous tumors removed from the breast, it takes days to discover if all the cancer cells have also been removed. If they haven’t, patients may need to undergo a second surgery.

In addition to the physical implications, emotional side effects begin to take a toll. This can feel like a setback, even when medically it may not be.

“When you have to go back for more surgery you start to think, ‘how much has this spread?’” says Cheryl Tilton, a three-time breast cancer survivor. Tilton, nurse director in the operating room at Virtua Memorial, understands all too well the fear and apprehension of needing multiple procedures to rid her breast of cancer.

After her first lumpectomy 13 years ago, physicians discovered they didn’t remove all the cancer cells during the procedure. Tilton had to face another surgery and another waiting period before she learned the cancerous tissue was gone.

“Waiting can be the worst part. You just want to deal with it and move on,” she said.

Now, Virtua has new technology that can decrease the likelihood of a second surgery and ease the fear patients experience while they await results.

The MarginProbe™ tests the remaining breast tissue right in the operating room and the results are attained in minutes instead of days. If cancer cells are detected, more tissue will be taken.

Ultimately, current studies show this FDA-approved technology has the potential to cut the need for a second procedure by 50 percent.

The MarginProbe™ was added to the comprehensive Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program thanks to gifts made to Virtua Foundation’s Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Care Comfort Fund.

Diane Gillum, MD FACS, Medical Director, Virtua Breast Program, said facing a second surgery to remove cancer cells may be one cause of the increased mastectomy rates she has seen in the last few years. Many women don’t want to go through that experience more than once.

Her hope is the MarginProbe™ will remove some of the uncertainty and bring patients added peace of mind.

“Getting this equipment fits with our approach of offering patients the best we possibly can in terms of technology and treatment,” said Gillum.

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Virtua Health Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to enhancing Virtua's mission through philanthropy.


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