Monday, May 2, 2016

Multidisciplinary Team Works Together to Tackle Cancer

This article appeared in the spring, 2016 issue of Fauquier Hospital's newsletter, Healthy Happenings.

Olga Malroy
When Olga Malroy discovered a lump in her breast in September 2015, she made an appointment at Fauquier Hospital for a diagnostic mammogram — even though she lives in Manassas. “I used to live in Warrenton, was familiar with Fauquier Hospital and had had a mammogram there three years earlier,” she says. “I was comfortable there.”

Two surgeries later, she is glad she chose Fauquier Hospital. The mammogram showed an abnormality, and she had an ultrasound that same day.

“I saw the picture,” says Olga. “I’m a doctor, and I knew it didn’t look good.” Olga had been a physician in her native Ukraine, trained in internal medicine.

The likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer was difficult enough, but as a 45-year-old single mother with two children and no health insurance, Olga knew she couldn’t pay for the tests or
treatment she needed. Fortunately, as soon as the results of the mammography came through, Olga was given the name of Richard Shrout, R.N., M.S.N., the oncology nurse navigator for Fauquier Health. He immediately introduced Olga to the folks at Fauquier Health Financial Services.

Richard says, “My job is to see that patients get the tests and treatments they need as quickly as possible and to remove any barriers to care. Olga's biggest barrier was financial. It has been my privilege to work with her. She is so bright, asks lots of great questions, and is very strong and determined.”

Fast Diagnosis, Fact Action
The biopsy showed two malignancies, and after talking with oncologist Syed Salman Ali, M.D., and surgeon Kip Dorsey, M.D., Olga opted for a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

During the November 4 surgery, the team removed two sentinel lymph nodes, and they proved positive for cancer cells.

Olga says, “I was very glad I opted for the mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy, because the positive lymph nodes showed that the cancer had begun to spread. The doctors also found a third tumor, too small to be detected by a mammogram.”

During that first surgery, plastic surgeon Timothy Mountcastle, M.D., put in what’s called an expander. He explains, “It saves the skin so that we can put in an implant later. The breast
reconstruction is a multistep process.”

The Road to Recovery
It wasn’t until November 19 that Olga got good news. A PET-CT scan showed that the cancer had not metastasized. On November 24, a second surgery confirmed that the 17 axillary lymph nodes that had been removed “all came back negative — no cancer in those cells,” says Dr. Ali.

Olga’s last genomic test showed that she would benefit from chemotherapy, says Dr. Ali.

Olga had been studying to become a sonographer, but she has had to put school on hold for a while. “I was taking two classes but had to drop one,” she says. “I did not want to do the chemo. It will take four months. I had everything scheduled, planned out. Now I’ve lost a year of my life.”

Throughout her cancer journey, Olga has had to make difficult decisions. As a doctor herself, she has been more able  than most patients to research her options. She has relied on the input of her health team as well. “Everyone has been so supportive, respectful and professional,” she says. Olga could elect to have chemotherapy treatments closer to her home, but she wants to have her treatments at Fauquier Hospital.

Dr. Mountcastle says, “It’s great that here at Fauquier Hospital we have a multidisciplinary team of cancer, reconstructive, chemo and radiation doctors to assist patients with the treatment of every aspect of breast cancer.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Kip Dorsey is a wonderful surgeon.