"My first response when my primary care provider called me and told me the outcome of the biopsy, I cried," Kristin shared.
Kristin connected with her Ascension Wisconsin cancer care team to learn more about what was in store for her health. Her care team included general surgeon Dr. Jerry Hardacre, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Douglas Reding, who developed a treatment plan personalized for Kristin and the type of cancer she had. Kristin had triple negative breast cancer, known to be an aggressive cancer because of how fast it spreads in the body.
Kristin decided to have her tumor removed, which required additional treatment before surgery. "Once we found out that it was triple negative, it was best that she undergo a comprehensive evaluation and be considered for upfront chemotherapy to allow us to have the best opportunity surgically," Dr. Hardacre stated.
The unique thing about Kristin's breast cancer journey is that she received care from her colleagues at Ascension Wisconsin. "My care team was my work family. They kept me in the loop and explained what certain test results meant and what they were indicating. Ultimately, I had choices throughout this process," recalled Kristin.
Kristin received weekly chemotherapy treatments for six months, followed by surgery at Ascension All Saints Hospital. Kristin's care team was about to achieve a complete pathologic response, meaning a disappearance of all invasive cancer, with chemotherapy. She finished her treatment with radiation and immunotherapy infusions.
"When I reflect on my timing, I don't know what the outcome would have been had I waited. Nothing was on my last mammogram. I didn't have any pain. I didn't have any breast health concerns. I didn't feel a lump. So it was shocking. It was surprising, but it was also a reality about how quickly this can move," said Kristin.
Getting regular breast health screenings may help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. At Ascension Wisconsin, our care teams recommend mammography screenings beginning at age 40, or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer.
"With this experience, I've become an evangelist for the annual mammogram, so I encourage every woman, and I encourage every woman to tell their friends and their family to get an annual mammogram," Kristin shared.
Cancer Care close to home
At Ascension Wisconsin Cancer Care, your care team is part of a national team of experienced cancer doctors, sharing best practices and the latest in cancer care knowledge and research – bringing the best of oncology to you, close to home. Whether you have questions about new symptoms, need a screening, have a new cancer diagnosis or need ongoing care– we are right there with you. Schedule a consultation with an oncologist at ascension.org/WisconsinCancerCare.