Mom, daughter face breast cancer 15 years apart

In the early 2000s, Virginia Plett watched her mother and aunt successfully undergo breast cancer treatment at MD Anderson . So when the Kansas resident received her own breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, she knew exactly where she was going for her treatment. “My mother wouldn’t have stood for anything else,” jokes Virginia, whose mom Margaret Looper has been a volunteer at MD Anderson in The Woodlands for the past 13 years. Virginia called MD Anderson in The Woodlands on a Friday, and she had an appointment that Monday. “I was absolutely amazed,” she says. Better breast cancer treatment options On Feb. 27, 2017, Virginia met with Elizabeth FitzSullivan, M.D., and the rest of her care team to discuss treatment for her HER-2 stage I breast cancer. Immediately, she and Margaret noticed how much breast cancer treatment has advanced in just 15 years. “Dr. FitzSullivan was going through all of the options, and Mom didn’t have all those options,” says Virginia, who opted to undergo a lumpectomy, a less invasive surgery that spared most of her breast tissue. Virginia had the surgery in March, and a month later, she then began a 12-week chemotherapy regimen of Taxol and Herceptin®. Despite her weekly trips to Houston and side effects such as hair loss, neuropathy, nausea and skin irritation, the school counselor never stopped working. “I just kept telling myself, ‘This is all good, this is all fine. I can do this,’” she recalls. Medical support across the miles It also helped that Virginia could always count on her care team. “There were a few times I had to contact the...