Akiko Noguchi
“Having cancer changed my life,” Akiko Noguchi says. “Now I’m a cancer patient support advocate for others.” (Cottage Health photo)

“I’m forever grateful for the Breast Imaging Center at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and their early detection.”
— Akiko Noguchi

In the summer of 2021, Akiko Noguchi was having her annual checkup, and her primary care physician referred her for a routine breast screening at the Breast Imaging Center at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

Her physician recommended a 3D mammogram (also known as digital breast tomosynthesis), in which multiple images are taken from different angles of the breast to create a very detailed, three-dimensional picture, which is particularly helpful for women with dense breast tissue.

While Noguchi had no family history of breast cancer and no genetic predisposition for cancer, the 3D image revealed a tumor.

“My radiologist and technician were comforting when they broke the news to me, and I cried; I was scared,” she said. “Their extra care, compassion and support were so special, and that made my experience at Cottage so good. I felt loved. I knew I was more than just another patient.

“These days, I’m healing from cancer and really living. My family and I stay active and enjoy the outdoors and camping. I love taking care of my children — a 7-year-old son who’s into sports and a 12-year-old daughter who rides horses.”

Noguchi has also become very active in the cancer support community.

“Having cancer changed my life,” she said. “Now I’m a cancer patient support advocate for others.

“I get to help people, and I know how because I’ve been on the other side. I’ll always appreciate the care I received at Cottage.”