Your mammogram comes back with the report that a small area of one breast needs a closer look. You're not worried yet, but your doctor wants you to schedule another mammogram and an ultrasound. You get rescreened and are told that the spot in question needs to be biopsied. Now you're worried. The biopsy is performed and you get the phone call — the test results are positive. You feel like you've been slammed in the gut with a sledgehammer. You have breast cancer.
Now what? Do you stay here and seek treatment? Should you head to a big city with a world-famous cancer center? You could. But you don't have to. The breast cancer care in Southern Oregon is first-rate.
"We have excellent outcomes for breast cancer patients in our area," says Susan Kilbourne, an oncology-certified nurse and director of cancer services at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. "Patients whose breast cancer is detected in very early stages have much better outcomes and survival rates. Stage I and II cancer patients' five-year survival rates are often above 98 percent."
As a mammography technologist and coordinator for the Leila J. Eisenstein Breast Center at Providence Medford Medical Center, Nicole McPheeters is well aware of the importance of yearly screening for breast cancer. That's why she decided last year to get her baseline mammogram at 35, even though she has no family history of breast cancer. Her decision most likely saved her life.