Get me to the church on time
Team of Medical College physicians transforms cancer patient into a blushing bride
|"They all said it
possible to get
this taken care
of before my
Most brides worry about flowers and their guest list. Laura Sanders was blind-sided by a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Sanders, the Director of Marketing for Goodwill Industries, was looking forward to her January 2009 wedding when a routine mammogram revealed some suspicious spots. Her local physician performed a biopsy and diagnosed Sanders with atypical ductal hyperplasia, a precancerous condition.
Sanders called the Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Genetics Screening Program for a consultation. She knew her sister had a BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene 2) mutation, which carries a 40 to 80% chance of developing breast cancer during a woman’s lifetime. Sanders wondered if she had the mutation too.
She did. She also had cancer. At Sanders’ request, Medical College surgeon Amanda Kong, MD, MS, reviewed the results of Sanders’ biopsy and discovered a form of cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ. “Dr. Kong was phenomenal,” Sanders said. “When she realized what this did to my life, she went into gear. She connected me with Dr. William Bradley, a gynecologic oncologist, because this mutation increases my risk of ovarian cancer, and hooked me up with Dr. John Hijjawi, a plastic surgeon. “They all said it was absolutely possible to get this taken care of before my wedding.”
Dr. Kong is Assistant Professor of Surgery; Dr. Bradley is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology; Dr. Hijjawi is Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery.
After learning the treatment options, Sanders chose to have double mastectomies, followed by breast reconstruction, and removal of her ovaries. On Nov. 12, 2008, at Froedtert Hospital, Dr. Bradley removed Sanders’ ovaries using a minimally invasive technique; Dr. Kong performed Sanders’ bilateral mastectomies; then Dr. Hijjawi inserted tissue expanders to begin the breast reconstruction process. The physicians coordinated this in one procedure so Sanders would not have to undergo multiple procedures and anesthesia.
Seven weeks later, Sanders stepped into her strapless wedding gown and walked down the aisle. Because the cancer was caught early and surgically removed, Sanders did not need any chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Today she is cancer-free and is enjoying life with her husband.
Medical College Physician Expertise at Froedtert & The Medical College Clinical Cancer Center
- Breast surgeons include physicians who are fellowship trained at the top cancer institutions in the U.S. Breast surgeons perform the second highest number of breast cancer surgeries in the state.
- Plastic surgeons comprise a major referral center for complex breast reconstruction. One of a few centers in the Midwest to provide DIEP flap (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) breast reconstruction, which provides better functional recovery and shorter hospital stay than the traditional TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous) procedure.
- The breast cancer team provides the combined expertise of breast surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons to create an individualized treatment plan.
- Gynecologic oncologists provide advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques, which decrease hospital stay and treat a range of gynecologic conditions.