October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, there is a 1 in 8 chance a woman will develop breast cancer at some point during her lifetime. In 2020, the ACS estimates that more than 276,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and over 42,000 women will die from breast cancer. Yet, there is hope, as there are 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Breast cancer is easiest to treat when it is found early. If you are due for a routine mammogram and your appointment was canceled or postponed earlier in the COVID pandemic, check with your doctor about scheduling a screening.
Better Health Advisors supports people with cancer from the initial diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Our team works closely with each client to manage their unique needs and help them access the best care. As an example of what we do and how we work, we’ll share one woman’s story.
Laura’s Story: Stage 4 Cancer
Laura* is a 69-year-old woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She also has moderate Parkinson’s Disease. At first, Laura sought treatment from local doctors in her Louisiana hometown. Laura’s daughter, Meredith, traveled from her home in New York City to help her mother. She had questions for Laura’s doctors and wasn’t happy with their answers.
Concerned that her mother wasn’t receiving the best care, Meredith called Better Health Advisors. After speaking with Meredith, we reached out to contacts at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and made arrangements for Laura to see a specialist there. Laura’s prognosis was dire; her cancer was deemed inoperable, and she began chemotherapy.
The family decided to take advantage of BHA’s network and services and move Laura to New York City. Usually, it takes months to see top cancer doctors, but the BHA team arranged for Laura to see top cancer specialists and neurologists within a week. These world-class physicians identified discrepancies in Laura's original diagnosis and modified her treatment plan accordingly.
Over the course of her treatment, Laura made several trips to the emergency room and was hospitalized twice. Better Health Advisors was there to navigate her ER and hospital stays, liaise with her physicians, and ensure a safe, smooth transition home when she was discharged.
BHA found Laura a top breast surgeon who determined that the modified chemotherapy was working and her cancer was operable. She had successful surgery. Two years later, Laura went in for a routine checkup, and there was no indication of the cancer returning. This good news was a tremendous relief for Laura and her loved ones.
The BHA team worked closely with Laura, her family, and her doctors throughout this journey. In addition to providing 24-hour support, we ensured that she received everything she was entitled to from her insurance company. As Laura and her family manage her Parkinson’s and any future health concerns, BHA will continue to offer guidance and support.
*For client confidentiality, all names and identifying information have been changed.