Kaiser Permanente: Beating Breast Cancer Starts With Early Detection
OREANDA-NEWS. August 26, 2016. Your best defense against breast cancer is early detection. With regular screenings and cutting-edge technologies, Kaiser Permanente can help prevent, detect and treat cancers early to save lives. When breast cancer is found, our entire care team of highly qualified specialists will get you the excellent care you need.
Knowing the symptoms can make the difference
When Chere Rush, 39-year-old mom, felt a lump in her breast, she waited four months to address it. It wasn’t until it was large and painful that she finally went in to see oncologist Rakesh Bhutani, MD, at the Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center. Hers is a cautionary tale about the importance of early detection.
Chere was able to get an immediate biopsy, which showed she had Stage IV breast cancer.
For many women, a lump in breast tissue is a tell-tale sign that something is wrong. Be aware of other symptoms that could point to breast cancer so you know when to call your doctor:
- Unusual lumps in the breast or armpit
- A dimple on the breast
- A change in breast size, shape, texture or temperature
- Reddish, pitted skin
- A change in the nipple
- Unusual nipple discharge
Don’t be immediately alarmed if you find a lump, but do contact your doctor right away if you feel something isn’t right. If it’s malignant, your doctor will create a plan of attack.
Personalized treatment plans to battle breast cancer
Chere Rush’s diagnosis was bleak — she was given two years to live. She broke the news to her sons, 8-year-old twins and a 10-year-old.
But her care team, headed by Dr. Bhutani, didn’t waste any time. The team came up with an aggressive, extensive and personalized treatment plan that included a lumpectomy, removal of 18 lymph nodes, chemotherapy and a mastectomy.
“When I met Dr. Bhutani, he gave me and my family hope,” says Chere. “He told us that no one could put a time limit on my life. Having faith, wonderful treatments and a good attitude would make a big difference.
“He was right. I am so blessed to have him as my oncologist. I know without a doubt that he has my best interest in mind when he makes decisions. I trust him with my life, and for the last 9 years, he has fought right next to me.”
A decade later, Chere is alive and busy with a milestone she never thought she would see — getting her youngest sons off to college. She’s also collaborating with fellow Kaiser Permanente breast cancer survivors Heather McCullough, Heather Solari and Deborah Bordeau, who all get their care from Dr. Bhutani.
The four received approval for a breast cancer awareness license plate in California. A portion of funds generated from the plates would go to Every Woman Counts, providing free clinical breast exams and mammograms to California’s underserved women. Learn more at pinkplate.org.
The life-saving power of screenings
Be proactive about your health. Know your body and schedule regular check-ups and screenings.
What is it?
- A self exam is a short check-up you do yourself.
- It’ll make you more familiar with how your breasts look and feel.
- If you find a lump that is new, changed, or painful, get it checked out.
How often should I perform one?
- Do one every month.
- If you’re menstruating, examine yourself the week after your period.
What is it?
- A mammogram is an X-ray test of mammary glands.
- This test can help catch cancer before you can feel a lump.
How often should I get one?
- Get one every 1 to 2 years starting at age 50.