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Breast Cancer Patient Empowered to Make Choices at Memorial
After a routine mammogram in 2009 at another local healthcare facility, Aimee was uneasy. Her physician recommended a follow-up exam in a year, but Aimee was not comfortable waiting that long. Her mother had died of breast cancer and she couldn't shake the feeling that she might have cancer too.
Aimee's instincts led her to seek answers at Memorial Breast Cancer Center where she requested a mammogram with an ultrasound.
"I knew in my heart, something was wrong," says Aimee. "Thankfully, my Memorial doctors listened."
The results revealed Aimee had stage 0 breast cancer, also known as noninvasive ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS. The most common type of noninvasive breast cancer, DCIS starts in the milk duct and was classified as noninvasive because it was contained within the milk ducts and had not spread to surrounding tissue. While DCIS is not life-threatening, if left untreated, the cancer can spread into the breast and other organs.
A psychotherapist and grief counselor by profession, Aimee was well aware of the emotional stages that patients go through when they receive a cancer diagnosis.
"As an educator and psychotherapist, I know there were various pieces of the breast cancer puzzle," says Aimee. "Thankfully, my mind told me exactly what to do – find the best experts and thoroughly examine all my options to make the best decisions possible. They took the time to explain my diagnosis, review my tests and scans and discuss my treatment options. They gave me the knowledge I needed to make my own choices."
While her first reaction was to preserve her breasts, in-depth research and discussions with her Memorial medical team, as well as second opinions from some of the top breast cancer surgeons around the country, led Aimee to concur with her Memorial team's opinion.
"I really didn't want to wake up after surgery without my breasts," says Aimee. "It was a psychological battle but ultimately, I was empowered by my Memorial team of physicians and underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery."
Thanks to her early diagnosis, Aimee's treatment plan did not include chemotherapy or radiation. Now cancer free and feeling grateful, Aimee is dedicating her time as a Memorial volunteer to help other women impacted by breast cancer.
"As a working mother balancing career and family, I can appreciate how adding breast cancer to the mix can wreak havoc on lives," says Aimee. "I want to use my experience and professional insights to help other women. While breast cancer may touch our lives, it's the people we meet along the way – our Memorial doctors, nurses, other health professionals and volunteers – who touch our hearts."
Is Your Doctor a Memorial Doctor?
To find a physician who is committed to breast cancer care and services, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.