Where you go first for triple-negative breast cancer treatment matters

I’d hoped that being a non-smoker who breastfed four children and never used hormone replacement therapy might protect me from developing breast cancer. But that disease runs in my family, so I can’t say I was entirely surprised when I received my own diagnosis at age 65. Because both my mother and her mother had had breast cancer, I’d been vigilant about getting regular mammograms. It was after one of those screenings in late November 2016 that I learned I had stage IIA triple-negative breast cancer. This aggressive cancer lacks the three receptors often used to target cancer, which can make it harder to treat. Unfortunately, I also received conflicting information from my local doctors in Austin about which treatment I needed first: surgery or chemotherapy. That made me very uneasy, especially when I learned that the process of reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy could take months. I had a lot of unanswered questions. And as a nurse practitioner, I also knew that every decision I made would impact future options for treatment. That’s why I’m glad I went to MD Anderson first. Expertise and efficiency at MD Anderson in Katy It was apparent right from the start that effective and timely communication is a priority at MD Anderson. I called for an appointment on a Thursday and was scheduled to see three physicians at the closest location to my home, MD Anderson in Katy, the very next day. When I got to MD Anderson that Friday, my appointments were seamless, and the doctors and staff gave me as much time as I needed to ask questions. I met...