Eileen’s Story: When Mammograms Took a Back Seat

At first, Eileen Lampert was diligent about getting regular mammograms. But as happens far too often, mammograms took a back seat to other things in her life.

Eileen had just moved to Dayton from Florida to be with her daughters. It had been five years since she’d had a mammogram. Other things took precedence, like hurricanes, the birth of a grandchild, and her younger daughter's wedding.

In Dayton, Eileen discovered a lump in her left breast. At first she ignored it, thinking it was a blocked milk duct. But the lump began to grow, so she went to see a medical oncologist at Miami Valley Hospital. A biopsy confirmed that Eileen had a malignant tumor that had been growing for two years.

Suddenly, panic set in. Eileen's mother and sister had both been through breast cancer. Her mother's cancer was not diagnosed for two years. She died soon after starting treatment. And now Eileen—still in her 50s—found herself in what appeared to be the same place.

Eileen’s oncologist immediately referred her to a team of cancer care specialists including a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and Amy McKenna, one of Miami Valley Hospital's breast cancer navigators. In addition to helping oncology patients plan their care and providing the information they need to make decisions, McKenna helps patients deal with the emotional aspects of cancer.

Eileen had unpleasant memories of the difficulties her father had with chemotherapy before he died of lung cancer. McKenna helped ease Eileen’s concerns, reviewing options available to her, including new drugs with fewer side effects. After treatment, Eileen's tumor began shrinking, and she felt sick only twice.

After the tumor shrank, Eileen had a double mastectomy. She credits McKenna for helping her through the experience. And Eileen was thankful for the support of daughters and a granddaughter living nearby.

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