(WJHL)- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Doctor Cheryl Stanski was one of the first female surgeons in the area at Holston Medical Group.
Every day Dr. Stanski helps women with everything from prevention to helping them stay healthy after diagnosis and treatment. She is passionate about her work.
“You get to know your patients so well, Dr. Stanski said. “You get to help them through a difficult time.”
It is a difficult time that for most women, is beatable, and preventable.
“That’s a really critical time in a woman’s life (after a breast cancer diagnosis), Stanski said. “That’s a huge stress, a scary, scary time. So, if we can be there to help them through that, that’s a great experience and a great relationship that forms.”
Doctor Stanski says in almost two decades of specializing in breast surgery, she has seen many changes in the care of breast cancer patients.
Surgery is less-invasive, and treatment after is tailored to the patient. She believes in using a team approach where both doctor and patient can tackle a breast cancer diagnosis.
“When someone finds out they have a concern, but they don’t know how you take care of it, it’s really scary. “When we say, ‘hey look, these are the steps we are going to take, these are the options we have’, then they get some control,” she says.
Fighting breast cancer starts with screening. Dr. Stanski says mammograms are not comfortable, but it is the best test to look for breast cancer before it can be felt.
“Those few moments of discomfort can be life-saving and may also minimize the treatment you might need,” she says. “A mammogram will miss 10 percent of breast cancers. But, it also finds 90 percent, and it can find them much faster than we can feel them.”
Bottom line, knowing your breast health status and finding it early is crucial to a positive outcome, and less heartache down the road.
“Women shouldn’t be afraid to come and find out about something,” she says. “I still see that women are afraid. They just don’t want to know. But, we have such great success with breast cancer treatment, and people are saying ‘Well, I don’t want chemotherapy.’ Most people don’t. So, don’t let your fear keep you from getting treatment.