Teresa: Early detection means timely treatment

As a hospice nurse for eight years, Teresa Joyner has helped many patients cope with breast cancer.

So, when the Jacksonville resident was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in June 2014 after a mammogram showed a lump in her breast, she focused on staying positive.

The support she received from Baptist Health’s comprehensive system of care, including a breast care coordinator who helped her every step of the way, allowed her to focus on her recovery. Her treatment involved a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and radiation.

“You feel like it’s a big family from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave,” said Joyner, 59, who received care at the Hill Breast Center at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Baptist Medical Center South. “I have not let the cancer get me down. Baptist Health makes it very comfortable for you.”

Her breast care coordinator, Marcelle Marie, RN, scheduled all of her appointments and arranged the first group meeting with her team, which included her surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. She received a binder with the results of every test she had as well as phone numbers for her doctors, information on local support groups and yoga classes, and what to expect before and after surgery.

“Everything was easy to obtain and get to if I needed the information. I never even had to set up an appointment,” Joyner said.

Baptist Health provides a multidisciplinary system of care with screening mammography available at all four adult hospitals and additional state-of-the-art diagnostic technology at the Hill Breast Center, the only dedicated breast center of its size in the region.

“We have a dedicated group of mammographers. The radiologists are fellowship trained in breast imaging and oncology. They have a real passion for breast health,” said Linda Allen, director of Women’s Imaging Services for Baptist Health. “When our patients see us, they can leave with the confidence of knowing they are not just getting the opinion of one physician, but up to four physicians every day who are here in our imaging area.”

Christine Granfield, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging for Baptist Health/Hill Breast Center, said the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society and the Society of Breast Imaging recommend that women with average risk should begin annual mammograms at age 40. Women at higher risk may need to begin annual mammograms earlier.

Joyner said she is thankful she did not put off getting her mammogram or her tumor would have been larger “and my outcome would have been a lot worse.”  “I didn’t feel anything and the doctors didn’t feel anything, but the mammogram picked it up and it saved my breast and my life,” Joyner added.

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