Loren B. Hamel, MD - President, Spectrum Health Lakeland |
Oct 13, 2021
It’s news no parent ever wants to hear. If you are a parent, you have thought about it and worried about it. Colleen* got the difficult news. Her 8-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
If that wasn’t stressful enough, Colleen had her own health concerns. She received results from a mammogram that indicated she was at high risk for developing breast cancer. She was understandably concerned. She was struggling to understand what that meant and what she should do.
Fortunately, we have professionals and a program designed to help Colleen, and friends and neighbors like her. It is called the high-risk breast cancer program. It’s about a year old and designed to enhance health, inspire hope, and save lives of those facing that difficult diagnosis.
When Colleen called our program, she found team members who could help with everything she was struggling with. They had answers to her questions. They could order tests. They could coordinate her care. They could do it all through one central person, a breast specialist and nurse practitioner named Kathryn Vera.
At her first session, Colleen met Kathryn and found she was easy to talk to, knowledgeable, insightful, and passionate about helping her. It provided nearly instant comfort and sustained relief.
As a patient of the program, Colleen now meets with Kathryn twice a year. They’ve created a custom plan to monitor her health. Colleen said she didn’t have anyone she could call before who was specialized in this care. Now, she feels like she has much less to worry about.
October is breast cancer awareness month. About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. We’re working to minimize the impact of this all too common disease. With a focus on prevention, screening, and early and accurate diagnosis we can minimize the risk of major surgery and improve the chances of recovery. Women and families have less to worry about and can gain more control over their health and future.
Colleen shared that she has friends and relatives in Northern Indiana, on the East Coast, and elsewhere, who are so impressed by our program and her care. They reported that the didn’t have anything like it where they live. Colleen believes if the program existed everywhere, women would worry much less about breast cancer. Unfortunately, our program is not all that common. Fortunately, it does exist right here in Southwest Michigan. What we have is very special. If we weren’t here, Colleen wouldn’t have the support she so needed. And neither would others who benefit from the program.
No matter what disease or illness someone faces, supporting each and every patient is the business we’re in. We all have the opportunity to help make someone’s life better, their days just a little bit easier, by what we do. We can also make truly life-changing and life-saving differences for people like Colleen. And that’s really good news.
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*name has been changed