Radiologists: Key players in cancer detection and more. Read more in this Edward Health Matters column in The Naperville Sun.
Radiologists: Key players in cancer detection and more
July 14, 2009
The biopsy -- finding out if that suspicious lump really is cancer -- is a critical point in a woman's journey through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
According to Susan Sebastian, 40, that turning point will be easier with someone at the helm for your biopsy who helps you feel physically and emotionally comfortable. In Sebastian's case, that someone was physician Anne Zimmermann, of Edward Hospital and Naperville Radiologists. Zimmermann is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in breast health.
Sebastian went to Edward Hospital for her first screening mammogram in February 2008, a few months after her 40th birthday. When Zimmermann reviewed Sebastian's images, she saw something that concerned her. The doctor set up an appointment for Sebastian to have additional mammogram images and an ultrasound.
Results of the tests, conducted the next day, confirmed a worrisome lesion; it was time for Sebastian to consult a surgeon. The consultation led to an MRI and a referral to Zimmermann for an ultrasound-guided biopsy. In this procedure, the patient lies on a table while the lesion is located via ultrasound. The radiologist then makes the incision and extracts the tissue for testing.
"Dr. Zimmermann had such a comforting manner and explained everything clearly," Sebastian said. "Her approach kept both the physical and emotional discomfort to a minimum. And, her incision was so small that the plastic surgeon I saw later could barely find it."
The tests showed that Sebastian had stage III breast cancer, meaning the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. When Sebastian later needed a biopsy for a lump in her armpit, she went directly to Zimmermann.
"It made it easier knowing she would be taking care of everything," Sebastian said. "You can tell that she cares about what she does, and she cares about people."
Zimmermann is one of 17 radiologists with subspecialty experience on staff at Edward through its partnership with Naperville Radiologists.
Zimmermann's area of expertise, breast imaging, is just one of more than a dozen subspecialties that radiologists can pursue after they earn their medical degrees and complete their residency. Others include cardiovascular, emergency, neurology and musculoskeletal. There also are interventional radiologists, who perform minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty and removal of uterine fibroids.
In Sebastian's case, after Zimmermann's involvement, her surgeon later performed a radical mastectomy on her right side with removal of lymph nodes, a simple mastectomy on her left side as a preventive measure and the first stage of reconstructive surgery. Sebastian, a mother of two pre-schoolers and businesswoman with regional responsibilities, is now going through chemotherapy and is scheduled for radiation treatment. Sebastian's oncologist tells her she's doing "excellently."
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services