Monday, October 24, 2011
Next Day Knowledge
Call it the genetic grab bag. Everyone has one, but whether you’ve stuck your proverbial hand in it yet is another matter. In my family, there is a history of heart problems and bad eyesight. For other families, like Cori Woolley’s, breast cancer is the monster in the closet.
Both Cori’s mother and aunt had breast cancer, and having just celebrated her 49th birthday, Cori was well aware that she had reached the age when her sister had been diagnosed. But that’s where the similarities end. Cori’s sister took about six months of testing to get her diagnosis. After finding a lump in her breast, it only took Cori a matter of days to get the good news that she didn’t have the disease.
Cori was a patient in Sunnybrook’s Breast Rapid Diagnostic Unit, or RDU, which gives next-day diagnosis and personalized screening recommendations for all patients. A Nurse Navigator walks each patient through the process from start to finish, which often includes ultrasounds, mammograms and, potentially, a biopsy. It’s a huge advance, cutting down typical wait times from weeks to mere days.
“I can’t imagine having to wait for results and wondering what’s going on in your body and the feeling that does bring on, inevitably, for me was only a couple of days,” Cori told me. “Right then and there on the spot they said, this does not look like cancer. I got hugs all around. Everyone was very emotional. It was really a very special experience.”
Cori knows she is still at increased risk, and will receive ongoing monitoring appropriate to her situation, which includes annual mammography and follow-up in Sunnybrook’s High Risk Clinic.
Whatever the contents of your grab bag, it’s all about managing the contents as best you can. Prevention, screening and knowledge are the best tools around. Make sure to get yours!
Click here for more information on Sunnybrook’s Breast Cancer Care.
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