Diagnosis: Breast cancer
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy
The news – and the timing – couldn’t have been worse.
Laurel Macartney was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy just months before her son was to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Healthy, active and on the go, Laurel spent years conquering some of the toughest ski slopes around and traveling the world to cheer son Scott’s accomplishments as a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team.
That same “team approach” is exactly what Laurel found at the EvergreenHealth Breast Health Center, which offers patients the ease of having all their breast care needs met in one location.
“In the midst of reeling from this horrible news, the Breast Health Center was able to coordinate all of my care,” Laurel explains. “It was one less thing I had to worry about…when I was already worrying about fighting for my life.”
The Breast Center’s coordination meant Macartney didn’t have go shopping for a surgeon or an oncologist after a mammogram confirmed her diagnosis.
“I was diagnosed on a Friday, and I was scheduled with oncologist Dr. Matthew Lonergan the next Tuesday,” she recalls. “He already had the results of the MRI I’d had at the Breast Health Center on Saturday.”
Her other appointments were all handled just as efficiently by the Breast Health Center’s dedicated cancer care coordinator, something that Dr. Lonergan says was especially important to Macartney.
“Laurel didn’t put going to the Olympics on hold,” he says. “Right from the get-go, she was saying, ‘We have to time the radiation around this, and I need to have this done by this date,’ and we were able to do that for her.”
Dr. Michael Hunter, medical director of EvergreenHealth’s cancer program, echoes the advantage of coordinated care.
“Imaging, surgery and the full range of therapies are available right here on the campus, and patients appreciate the convenience,” he explains.
He also credits that close proximity with allowing for more collaboration – both formal and informal – among the cancer care providers at EvergreenHealth.
Dr. Hunter stresses that it’s not just EvergreenHealth’s extraordinary care that’s getting the Breast Health Center national attention.
“What really matters at the end of the day is your survival and your quality of life, which in this case can be based largely on whether you keep your breast,’ he says. “We’re running about 98 to 99 percent for keeping your breast after a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. That leads the nation. We’ve recently learned that controlling the cancer within the breast leads to a higher chance for survival. So at the end of the day, we’re getting people cured.”
Laurel Macartney is proof of that.
Right after treatment, there she was – proudly and enthusiastically cheering her son’s performance at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.
She’s equally enthusiastic about the EvergreenHealth cancer program. “I had a lot of options for my treatment, but I chose EvergreenHealth because of its coordinated team approach,” she says. “You can get through this, you do recover, and life does go on.”