Why I traveled 1,600 miles for breast cancer treatment

Until January 2016, I’d never heard of MD Anderson. I had no idea that it was considered the top hospital for cancer care in this country and possibly the world. But when the breast cancer I’d been treated for near my home in New York turned out to be stage IV rather than stage II, I started researching my options. At MD Anderson, I found the personalized breast cancer treatment I needed. Today, I have no evidence of disease.  My breast cancer diagnosis I was diagnosed with breast cancer the same year I turned 40. This was a surprise, as I had no family history of cancer, and I’d already had my first baseline mammogram, which was completely normal. But one evening in the spring of 2015, I felt a lump in my left breast. A biopsy showed it was invasive ductal carcinoma, a type of breast cancer. Based on the tumor’s size and location, it was only considered stage II. I started my treatment in New York by undergoing a double mastectomy. Unfortunately, three sentinel lymph nodes that were removed during the surgery tested positive for cancer. A PET scan taken shortly afterward showed that the breast cancer had already spread to a small spot on my pelvis. That changed my diagnosis from stage II to stage IV — which is considered incurable. In a matter of weeks, I’d gone from being an early-stage cancer patient to a cancer patient for life. It turned my world upside down. How I found my way to MD Anderson Since my cancer had only spread to one other place in my...