With a history of breast cancer in her family, Marie knew mammograms were essential. Her regular physician recommended she have a mammogram early, at age 35, to establish a baseline. That turned out to be good advice. Her mammogram at age 39 revealed a slight change, and a biopsy determined she had cancer.
Marie opted for surgery. Based on her pre-operative x-rays, which showed only the tip of what turned out to be a 2-inch (6-centimeter) tumor, she went in for a double mastectomy with a stage I diagnosis. She came out, however, with a stage IIIB diagnosis.
Having seen ads for Cancer Treatment Centers of America on TV, Marie suggested her husband check the CTCA website: "He came out of our home office a couple hours later (I think it was around 1:00 am) and said we were going to CTCA in Chicago, Illinois. I said, 'Okay.'"
In 2004, the couple traveled to CTCA to get a second opinion. In the CTCA New Patient Clinic, Marie met several physicians and underwent a battery of tests and scans. "It was a scary process, but we felt very reassured by the amount of care and attention to detail they showed us," Marie says.
Ultimately, she chose treatment at CTCA because the CTCA staff and physicians were, in her words, "so much more informed, didn't take any chances with my health, gave me a complete examination to make sure I was in good enough health to handle the treatments they offered, and gave me choices, with clear communication on the potential outcomes and risks for those choices."
Today, Marie has been cancer-free for eleven years and counting. She goes back to CTCA only once a year. ""The 'mammogram at 35'policy saved my life because, without it to compare to, they would not have noticed the change in my breast. I was very fortunate!" Marie says."The quality of care I received and still receive at CTCA is unmatched. They never stop caring about me."
Last updated on 4 January 2016
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.