By David Johnson
The American Cancer Society estimates 39,620 women will die this year from breast cancer. Even though incident rates began to decline a year ago, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women behind lung cancer according to the Cancer Society.
In her sixties, and with a history of good health, Maureen thought maybe she had beaten the odds. No reason to worry when she had a routine test at Pullman Regional Hospital. Even after a mammogram showed a suspicious mass, she wasn’t too worried.
Only when an ultrasound confirmed a tumor did Maureen suddenly realize she had joined the ranks of an estimated 232,000 women across the country that annually gets bad news.
“It was probably one of the scariest bits of news I’ve ever received,” Maureen said. “Hearing your name associated with the words ‘breast cancer’ is very scary”.
“It is never an easy thing to hear,” said Maureen of her cancer diagnosis. “And it’s never an easy thing to tell anyone.”
The mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy were all performed on the same day at Pullman Regional. The staff in the mammography department was wonderfully helpful. “Brenda Champoux and her staff were there with me, literally holding my hand and answering questions as procedures were happening. I was getting information the whole time about what was going on. They were awesome.”
Maureen said the moments surrounding a cancer diagnosis are especially unnerving because the unknown surfaces and all but suffocates rational thinking. Ten days later, surgeon Derrick Walker, D.O., with Palouse Surgeons, performed a lumpectomy at the hospital.
When Maureen came out of surgery, she was told that the cancer was very small and that it was only first stage. They got everything including nearby lymph nodes. Chemo was not necessary, but she would require four weeks of radiation treatment.
Maureen said that she encourages all women to stay on top of the breast cancer threat. Early detection, she said, is key. “I can’t say enough about how I feel about telling people to do it. Just do it. Get regular mammograms.”
Maureen lauded Dr. Walker and the entire staff at Pullman Regional. She said, “They helped me through a very scary time. I cannot thank them all enough.”
Pullman Regional Hospital is recognized at a state and national level for its high patient satisfaction ratings – consistently in the 95th percentile in the nation. We believe the quality of our staff and their satisfaction with their work directly impacts our patients. We pride ourselves in providing personalized care with high care staff-patient ratios. In addition to a highly trained committed staff, we boast an incredibly low staff turnover. Our people combine their passion for caring with their empathy and high level of skills to provide exceptional care. The Pullman Regional Hospital Endowment for Quality & Access is critical to continuing this legacy, and it’s the generosity of our community that sustains us. Learn how you can help.