Better Breast Care

It is a frightening diagnosis, so, naturally women with breast cancer hope their treatment works. Yet recent surveys show breast cancer patients are more dissatisfied with their care than all other cancer patients. Now, one woman helps patients get through all the tests, doctors and waiting — with a positive outlook.

When a woman gets her routine mammogram, she hopes everything will turn out okay. Susan MacArthur knows how it feels when it doesn’t. She tells Ivanhoe Broadcast News, “It was so stressful that a cancer patient can’t go through that kind of stress and survive. They just can’t.”

MacArthur was diagnosed with breast cancer twice. Both times, she was unhappy with the care she received.

“It was horrible,” she says, “He had no hope for me. He was very negative.”

MacArthur is not alone. A recent study in the journal Cancer revealed 84 percent of breast cancer patients are dissatisfied with their care.

Fed up and scared, these women found Thresa Holden, R.N., O.C.N. As part of a breast care program, her job is to guide patients through every step of their treatment and help them take action.

“When you have the diagnosis of cancer, your world is turned upside down and suddenly you’re thrown into this medical maze not knowing where to go or what to do,” says Holden, a breast care coordinator at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Fla.

Holden teaches patients the right questions so they are armed with information.

Holden tells Ivanhoe Broadcast News, “What kind of cancer does she have? What stage? What type of treatment is she receiving? Are there any clinical trials that might be out there appropriate for her?”

Also, research your disease. Be your own advocate. These extra steps not only answered MacArthur’s questions, but gave her new hope.

Holden also strongly encourages patients to get a second opinion. Moreover, if your doctor takes too long to call you with results, call them within one week.

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