Surviving Breast Cancer During the Pandemic
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have delayed routine cancer screenings or seeing their doctor about symptoms.
While fear of exposure and the challenges in balancing life’s changes made putting off appointments to visit the doctor understandable, it’s also troubling. Regular screenings and early detection can drastically improve the chances of survival.
Caroline, a breast cancer survivor, admits she was reluctant to receive her annual mammogram at the beginning of the pandemic, even though she was at high risk. “I had an ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of mindset and I feared getting negative results.”
After an abnormal breast MRI and biopsies in both breasts, she was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. In the summer of 2020, Caroline worked with the experts at the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Breast Center, Shady Grove Medical Center and the Shady Grove Adventist Aquilino Cancer Center to determine her best course of action. This included surgery, radiation and services such as nutrition and occupational therapy.
“The goal of regular and high-risk screenings is to have outcomes such as these where patients receive minimal treatment and therapies,” explained Sonya Kella, MD, breast radiologist and medical director of women’s imaging for Adventist HealthCare. “Caroline is a perfect example of a patient that benefited from early detection such that she did not require chemotherapy to be cured.”
Caregivers as Family
Receiving treatment is challenging under normal circumstances. Navigating it through COVID-19 has been especially hard. Because of safety guidelines and visitor restrictions, Caroline’s family couldn’t come to support her through surgery or radiation therapy. The caregivers were there for her to lean on for comfort.
If you have been putting off an annual cancer screening, rest assured that your safety and well-being are a top priority at Adventist HealthCare facilities. As Caroline shares, you’ll be in good hands.
“You’re not just a number with this team. People know your name and your story.”
Important Cancer Screenings
Mammograms for women over 40
Colonoscopies and other screenings starting at 45
HPV tests and other screenings beginning at 25
Imaging and other screenings for those at high risk, starting at 55