Breast Cancer Awareness Month: An Insider’s Experience Caring for Breast Cancer Patients

Shannon Kahn, MDIn honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I have been given the opportunity to share my experience in caring for patients with breast cancer over these past years. I am a radiation oncologist at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and meet with patients every day in all stages of their breast cancer experience.

During my tenure in this field, I have continued to see great strides in treatment innovations resulting in improved outcomes, less treatment related toxicities and improved prognoses. Medical advances such as targeted chemotherapy regimens, partial breast brachytherapy, 4D radiation treatment delivery with minimal cardiac dose, and improved cosmetic outcomes with plastic surgery advances are just a few.

The hope and excitement of these medical advances continue to drive the medical profession in achieving what we all await, a cure for breast cancer. However, what overwhelms and can at times outweigh these medical achievements, are the great strength, optimism and fight that we experience from our breast cancer patients.

To be a participant in the breast cancer journey accompanied by affected women, men and families is such an incredible privilege. I only hope that I can carry their strength and energy through to the next patient that I meet with a new breast cancer diagnosis and use this experience to assist with his or her transition to becoming a breast cancer survivor.

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