Breast MRI Keeps Patient Cruising
Eileen Kandt loves to cruise. Whether cruising through the mall— “I love to shop!” she says—or cruising through the Caribbean with her husband David, the retired government employee is always on the move.
And, thanks to the expertise of AAMC breast radiologists and the comprehensive care delivered at the AAMC Breast Center, Mrs. Kandt now is cruising through breast cancer recovery.
Mrs. Kandt was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in her left breast in 2005. The cancer in her right breast, however, was found shortly after the original diagnosis, thanks to a protocol AAMC has implemented for several years: magnetic resonance imaging of the breast, or breast MRI, for women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Recent research also has shown that breast MRI benefits women at high risk for breast cancer. In a recent publication by the American Cancer Society, breast MRI is recommended for high risk women due to a variety of factors.
“My primary care physician had been watching my yearly mammograms since 2000 due to calcifications in my right breast.” said Mrs. Kandt, who began having mammograms every six months because of the calcifications. “In 2005 my doctor said, ‘I think it's time to get a biopsy: which I immediately did.”
Mrs. Kandt, who lives near Odenton, Md., chose the AAMC Breast Center for her care based on the positive experience of a friend. “Four years later my friend was still applauding the care she received at AAMC,” Mrs. Kandt said. “So I saw Dr. Cheng, who is just wonderful and so compassionate.”
The biopsies of the calcifications were benign, but results showed “atypia,” which indicates abnormal cell changes. During the comprehensive examination before the biopsy, AAMC breast surgeon Zandra Cheng, M.D.,felt a lump in Mrs. Kandt’s left breast that was not detected by mammogram. After cancer was diagnosed in the one breast, Dr. Cheng ordered a breast MRI. The MRI showed not only the known cancer, but also detected one in the other breast.
“Her two cancers hadn’t shown up in mammograms, but the lump was there,” said Dr. Cheng. “MRI pinpointed the location of the second cancer and we were able to detect early-stage cancer in Eileen’s right breast.” The findings of cancer in both breasts altered Eileen’s surgical options. Rather than undergo two lumpectomies and radiation to both breasts, she elected to have a bilateral mastectomy, a procedure in which both breasts are removed.
After months of chemotherapy and a subsequent clean bill of health, Mrs. Kandt this year underwent reconstructive surgery with Christopher Spittler, M.D., of plastic Surgery Specialists, P.C., a surgeon on staff at AAMC.
Mrs. Kandt is cruising again, now cancer-free and enjoying her retirement at age 63, with her husband, who recently was treated for prostate cancer by surgeon James Biles, M.D. “Thanks to the care I received, he went to AAMC and saw Dr. Biles,” said Mrs. Kandt. “His care was fantastic. AAMC is certainly our hospital:” she said.