As a woman, it’s common to fear the diagnosis of breast cancer. But with advances in early diagnosis and treatment, the disease is now one of the most treatable forms of cancer. And as a leader in cancer care, Good Samaritan Medical Center Cancer Centers of Colorado is uniquely positioned to guide women through every part of their journey. The goal? Eliminate cancer quickly and help women get back to the lives they love.
“At Good Samaritan, we treat all patients like family. They are the center of our focus,” explains Katie Ingraham, sonographer, SCL Health Good Samaritan Breast Center.
‘YOU HAVE CANCER’
Anastasia Kenny understands the importance of compassionate, personalized breast cancer care. At age 44, the busy mother of three had just moved to Erie, Colorado, when she felt a lump in one of her breasts. Anastasia’s primary care doctor referred her to the SCL Health Breast Center at Good Samaritan for a diagnostic mammogram and breast ultrasound, which quickly led to a breast biopsy. “I didn’t know anything about the area and getting that referral to Good Samaritan was the best thing that could have happened,” recalls Anastasia. “They were absolutely amazing.”
Anastasia wasn’t worried about the results of her tests. Years before, she had a cyst removed from her breast and assumed it was something similar. However, when SCL Health breast radiologist Luke Hoagland, MD, called to discuss her results, Anastasia was shocked to learn it was cancer.
“I was numb. But I knew I needed to get through it. I’m so thankful I had someone from Good Sam helping me each step of the way,” says Anastasia of oncology nurse practitioner Janelle Wagner, NP, who was part of Anastasia’s breast cancer navigation team. “Janelle took over for me and helped me with everything. I had her on speed dial.”
Soon after diagnosis, Anastasia underwent a lumpectomy in outpatient surgery at Good Samaritan with surgeon Kelly Knudson, MD. The surgery was a success, removing all traces of cancer. However, even though the cancer was found in its earliest stages, Anastasia was hit hard by the news that she would need chemotherapy.
“Biopsy of the tumor showed that I had HER2-positive breast cancer. It’s a type of cancer that is very aggressive and needs to be treated differently. I had been strong the whole time but knew this would be hard, especially on my kids,” recalls Anastasia.
To help her through her cancer treatment, Anastasia called on personalized services provided by Good Samaritan Medical Center Cancer Centers of Colorado. She spoke with an oncology social worker to help her and her husband navigate how to talk with their children about chemotherapy. And when she began to lose her hair during treatment, she got fitted for a wig at the Cancer Center Wig Boutique to help her look and feel more like herself.
Anastasia’s once-a-week chemotherapy treatments with medical oncologist Deborah Cook, MD, went well. Even though Anastasia experienced some fatigue and acid reflux, she was able to stay active in her family’s life.
“The people at Good Samaritan made my chemotherapy so much easier,” says Anastasia. “I was always greeted with kindness and provided blankets, snacks and everything you need to make the experience comfortable.”
JOURNEY BACK TO HEALTH
Following 10 weeks of chemotherapy, Anastasia began five weeks of radiation therapy with radiation oncologist James Jacobs, MD—the final step in her cancer treatment.
“Dr. Jacobs was so calming. He was fantastic. Between school carpool, kids’ activities and radiation appointments, I had a crazy schedule but was so happy to be finally finishing treatment,” says Anastasia.
Anastasia completed her final treatment this past spring. And she was thrilled that when she went back to the SCL Health Breast Center, the breast screenings showed she was cancer-free.
“I was determined that life wouldn’t change just because I had breast cancer. It was something I was going through, but it wasn’t me. I didn’t want to let it define me,” says Anastasia. “I cannot say enough about Good Samaritan and my entire cancer team. I love everyone there. It helped to know that people really cared.”
IS IT TIME FOR YOUR SCREENING?
The earlier breast cancer is found, the greater the chances for cure. Remember to stay on top of your screenings—it could save your life! Good Samaritan Medical Center offers state-of-the-art imaging and breast care services. CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment.