Advancements allow for more breast cancer patient options for treatment

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:

Breast cancer survivor Chris Willets is taking control of a scary situation by making the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy.

Advancements in science and technology are giving patients more options for treatment.

Willets had no breast cancer history in her family, and never any scares or concerns – until January.

Mammogram, ultrasounds, and biopsies all confirmed she had cancer in both breasts.

“When you hear those words – you have cancer – you wake up in the morning, and everything is OK for an instant,” Willets recalled, “And then you remember. Oh, I have cancer.”

At first, she decided to get a lumpectomy, which is surgery to remove just the cancer itself, but then, she had a moment of decisiveness.

“I was driving to work one day and I just said nope, you know what? I’m going to do bilateral mastectomies,” she explained.

Willets said having a say in her treatment made all the difference. “It puts that power in your hands. You are not being told what you have to do – you’re given options.”

Dr. Troy Shell-Masouras is with Paradise Coast Breast Specialists. She said, “The progress that I’ve seen over the last several years, is that we are more focused on patients. We’re listening more to what their wishes are.”

Shell-Masouras says advancements in science and technology also give patients more treatment options to choose from, and often improve outcomes.

MORE: Future of breast cancer

“Because we’re understanding more and more about the biology, there are more targeted drugs being developed to target your specific type of breast cancer,” she added.

Now Willets is cancer-free and says, “I’m glad I made that choice for me.”

The doctor also says, when it comes to established breast cancer procedures – such as lumpectomies and mastectomies – patients also have more options like deciding where to place the incisions.

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