Bonnie Boyd of Oak Park had experienced close calls with cancer before. She had breast biopsies in 1975 and 1980 that turned out to be noncancerous. Then her mother died of lung cancer and her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer just one year later.
So Boyd, 64, was familiar with the fear and uncertainty that go along with the thought of cancer. But that didn’t stop her from continuing to get annual mammograms and other health checkups. When she had a mammogram in August 2009 and it was suspicious, she aggressively moved ahead to seek treatment options.
“It’s a scary time, but you have to take an active role in your health,” Boyd says. “Knowledge is power.”
After a CT scan detected a small lump in her breast, Boyd’s primary care physician referred her to Keiva Bland, M.D., a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in breast surgery.
A biopsy confirmed it was Stage 1 cancer, so Dr. Bland performed surgery in October at Sinai-Grace.
Luckily, the lump was small and had not spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. “I am truly blessed,” Boyd comments. “I didn’t need chemotherapy, I only have a small scar and I didn’t have any side effects from the radiation therapy.”
Boyd is now back at work as a security guard at the Detroit MGM Grand Casino.
“Treatment options for breast cancer are more varied than ever before. We work very hard to spare breast tissue if possible,” notes Dr. Bland. “But the key is finding cancer early. If patients get screening mammograms done on schedule, we are more likely to find a growth when it is small. That means women often don’t need to lose a breast or are able to avoid aggressive chemotherapy or radiation.”
Another treatment option available to patients who are diagnosed early is an innovative nipple-sparing mastectomy surgery. Dr. Bland performs this procedure to preserve skin and tissue, allowing for a more natural reconstruction of the breast.
“However, this surgery is only available for select patients who are diagnosed early,” Dr. Bland says.
This story first appeared in Sinai-Grace Hospital’s Healthy Living magazine. Click here to read more Healthy Living stories.