“Is there anything I can do to help you? Maybe take the kids out for a few hours?” Those are the types of things that can really help. What you don’t want to say to a (breast) cancer patient is “How are you feeling today?”
When Stacy Costa was 18 and her aunt, age 31, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembers thinking to herself that she was going to get cancer too.
“It was just a feeling because four people on my mom’s side had cancer,” said Costa.Knowing her family history, Costa stayed conscious of her breast health and very self-aware of what felt normal and what did not. Part of that included performing routine self-exams. It was one of those routine self-exams that told her a lump in her breast was different and it shouldn’t hurt to touch. She acted quickly and called her family doctor.
It started with an ultrasound and then moved onto the radiology department where she quickly got a mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“You know something is not right when the radiologist says ‘You did the right thing,’” said Costa.
At that point she reached out to her mother, a former nurse and pharmaceutical representative, who put her in touch with a colleague who now works for Dr. Robert Goulet at Community Breast Care Center.
“I made the call to Community and got in quickly,” said Costa. “I asked my mom to come with me, not so much because she was my mom, but because she could translate all the medical-speak. But Dr. Goulet spoke to me so plainly that I didn’t need to worry. He was so good at giving me all the information and letting me take time to make decisions.”
Costa said she wasn’t surprised by her diagnosis and that she would need surgery and chemotherapy. But she did wonder if the family history was a factor, so Dr. Goulet did a gene test. continue reading ...