Surgical options for breast cancer can leave women feeling overwhelmed. On this episode of Patient Power, Andrew is joined by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) breast surgical specialist Dr. Kristin Calhoun for a better understanding of available options for women diagnosed with breast cancer requiring surgery. Dr. Calhoun is assistant professor in the surgery department at SCCA, the first breast surgeon on the team. Her patient Suzie Haberland also joins the program to share how she believes a team approach to care made all the difference and “took the fear out it.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Suzie and her husband Stasa were proactive and did their research. Suzie sought the care of the best oncologists—a search that led her to Dr. Calhoun and her team at the SCCA. Tests revealed Suzie’s cancer spread to her lymph nodes, requiring a lumpectomy. Suzie was impressed with the “team approach” to care she received at the SCCA and is currently undergoing the last stages of chemotherapy.
Dr. Calhoun expands the discussion and sheds light on Suzie’s story while offering a clinical perspective on how she and her team explain surgical options to patients. While most patients are eager to know their options, some are anxious to move rapidly. Dr. Calhoun talks about these patients, when lymph nodes should be removed and various options for reconstructive surgery. Most importantly, Dr. Calhoun emphasizes the importance of patients asking questions and learning all they can to make the best decisions, especially when it comes to surgery. To quote Dr. Calhoun: There is no such thing as a stupid question. And really I can explain and I can tell someone what the options are, but I've done my job if they understand why these options are available to them.
Kristine Calhoun, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery Department, Seattle Cancer Care AllianceDr. Calhoun is assistant professor in the surgery department at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). She was born and raised in Tacoma and attended the University of Washington for her undergraduate degree and also earned her M.D. at the UW. She completed her residency in general surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, later heading to Santa Monica for... more >
Underwent lumpectomySuzie Haberland, a development director for Starbucks, was diagnosed with breast cancer after her daughter fell on her chest—she recalls it feeling quite odd. Suzie and her husband Stasa, were immediately proactive and scheduled an appointment with her primary care doctor for a closer look. A biopsy revealed Suzie had breast cancer. After much research, Suzie sought the care of... more >