Using my voice during breast cancer treatment

Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, I’d never had a mammogram. I was only 38 at the time, so I hadn’t started getting that annual test yet. But that December, I found a lump in my right breast – a symptom of breast cancer. I was very apprehensive, and saw my gynecologist right away. He thought the lump could be benign, but recommended further testing. So I called Dr. Carisa Le-Petross in Breast Imaging and scheduled a mammogram at MD Anderson, where I work as a radiologist. Accessibility proves no problem for wheelchair-using breast cancer patient One of my biggest concerns before my breast cancer diagnosis was accessibility. In 1998, I sustained a spinal cord injury, which paralyzed me from the middle of my chest down. I’ve used a wheelchair to get around since then, so I worried about how I would navigate the diagnostic equipment effectively. As it turns out, MD Anderson has both wheelchair-accessible mammography machines and wheelchair-accessible stretchers. And imaging technologists stand ready to assist patients with transfers whenever needed. I just rolled up to one of the mammography machines, and the technologists positioned my breast to get the views they needed. They were very kind and considerate, especially given the nature of the procedure. More information, more flexibility in breast cancer treatment As an MD Anderson radiologist myself, I know how to read imaging films. So when I saw the images from my own mammogram, I thought, “Oh, that looks worrisome.” An ultrasound and a core biopsy soon followed. A few days later, Dr. Le-Petross and Dr. Jennifer Litton gave me the...