“Since my diagnoses and treatment, I have been able witness the birth of my granddaughter and attend my youngest daughter’s wedding,” said Lisa Haws-Beck, two time breast cancer survivor, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and sibling. “I look forward to seeing my oldest granddaughter graduate from high school next year and watching my other granddaughters grow up.”
Experts estimate that about one out of every eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. The good news for women is that screening technologies, including digital mammography, combined with a better understanding of who is at the highest risk means we are better equipped to find and treat cancers earlier than ever before.
Hearing your doctor say, ‘you have breast cancer’ is overwhelming, scary and often shocking. Haws-Beck has heard it twice. She was first diagnosed in 2011 with stage 1 cancer and then again in 2014.
“I have always gone in since I was in my 40s,” Haws-Beck said. “I was religious about annual screenings and I am very thankful we caught it early. I had surgery and radiation in 2011 and a bilateral mastectomy in 2014. We do so many things on a schedule: PTA meetings, dental cleaning, hair appointment, annual exams and celebrations; you don’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I had.’”
According to Health and Welfare, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Idaho. Each year, approximately 8,500 Idahoans are diagnosed with cancer. Of concern is that Idaho ranks 50th in the nation for breast cancer screening; 52nd for cervical cancer screening; and 40th for colorectal cancer screening.
October, breast cancer awareness month, focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast cancer, the second most common cancer among women in the United States. When found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years.
Cancer affects family and friends, not just the person with the disease. “It affects children more than we think,” said Haws-Beck. “My daughters panicked and the ripple effect grew and affected each of those I love and those in my support circle differently.”
Cancer treatment is tough enough without having to travel, stay in hotels, and incur other expenses. Portneuf Cancer Center provides medical oncology, radiation oncology, dietitians, and social workers all under one roof. As a team, the seamless care they provide in one location makes a difference.
“Being able to have my radiation here was the only way I could have done the treatment,” Haws-Beck said. “Having a cancer center here and the staff that we have is so nice. You might not know it is here until you need it, and then this center becomes part of your family and they truly care.”
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines set the standard of care for the treatment of cancer patients. The Portneuf Cancer Center, like other cancer centers across the country, follows published guidelines for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment as established by the NCCN.
While navigating the treatment path can seem like a medical maze when you are first diagnosed, Portneuf Cancer Center remains dedicated to the human touch—one filled with open arms, caring and compassionate support, and a deep-rooted commitment to excellence.