The weight of a breast cancer diagnosis can leave a woman feeling defeated and hopeless. Family and friends rally support and offer to help — and that means the world. But, compassionate, respectful care from a dedicated healthcare team can be a source of unexpected strength.
In December 2015, Kay Casper checked-in at the Wake Radiology Diagnostic Imaging office on Merton Drive for her annual mammogram. Early in her life, Kay was told she had dense breast tissue. Couple that with a family history of breast cancer and Kay knew she was at a slightly higher risk for breast cancer than most. That’s why Kay has been diligent in having annual mammogram screenings (more than 10 years running at Wake Radiology), always thinking of them as part of her personal care regimen.
Kay’s mammogram showed a spot of concern and she was sent to the Wake Radiology office in Cary for additional testing. Kay’s dense breast tissue made her case more complex. That’s why Dr. Thomas Presson was diligent and persistent in making sure that the correct area was biopsied. It took a few weeks to determine if the abnormality was, in fact, breast cancer.
“It was quite an ordeal and during the holiday season, but no one ever rushed me or made me feel unwelcome,” said Kay. “Everyone was incredibly kind, caring and professional. They treated me so well and worked diligently to find a correct diagnosis.”
On December 30, 2015, the results of a fine needle biopsy concluded that Kay had estrogen-driven, early-stage breast cancer.
“Dr. Peters, who delivered the news, had the hardest job of all,” said Kay. “Having him share his experience about cancer in his own family was incredible. It gives you some sense that you’re not all alone.”
After receiving the news, Nancy Kistler, the ultrasound technologist who worked with Kay, also assured her that she could get through her diagnosis. Kistler, a 12-year breast cancer survivor, told Kay that she would have endless amounts of support from her Wake Radiology family.
“Nancy was so helpful and reassuring all along the way,” said Kay. “Simply in sharing her own story and her experiences was great. We became instant friends!”
In early 2016, Kay had surgery. Since then, she’s been following her oncologist’s directions and has also made some health changes to keep off fat cells, which can help to reduce estrogen levels. She’s continued her membership at the YMCA, as well as participated in their Livestrong program, where she’s motivated alongside fellow cancer survivors.
“It’s hard for me to describe all that went on during my many visits to Wake Radiology. I worked with so many different care providers and radiologists,” Kay continued. “I’m so grateful for everyone at Wake Radiology who touched my life that December.”
Several months later, Kay completed a bone density screening at the Wake Radiology North Hills office. After that exam (one that’s not related to mammography), Dr. Max, one of her breast imaging radiologists, stopped in just to see how she was doing.
“I didn’t have an appointment with Dr. Max and he didn’t have to do that,” said Kay. “But, it meant the world that he did.”
As a patient of Wake Radiology for more than 10 years, Kay always knew the staff to be kind and caring, but her experiences after her cancer diagnosis solidified her trust, confidence and love for her care team.
“I encourage all women to read about breast cancer, understand their breast density, determine if they have any additional risk factors and get their annual mammograms,” Kay said. “And, do all of that with a team that’s dedicated to you.”
Whether you need to schedule your first mammogram appointment or you need to check off your annual screening, consider having a 3D mammogram at Wake Radiology. As the Triangle leader in 3D mammography, we offer this revolutionary new service in 8 locations throughout the Triangle. You can request a screening mammogram appointment online or call us at 919-232-4700.