BILLINGS – The start of a potential breast cancer diagnosis begins under the watchful eyes of Dr. Kalie Adler.
“I usually have a pretty good idea of, is this something we need to worry about or is it not,” Adler said, a radiologist at St. Vincent Healthcare.
“I’m really honest with the patients and if it is something we need to address with perhaps a biopsy, I tell them this could be a cancer, it looks suspicious, if it’s nothing to worry about then the patient can go home and have that weight lifted off their chest,” Adler said.
Any woman diagnosed with breast cancer at St. Vincent Healthcare will know the name, voice, and embracing arms of Ella Dugan-Laemmle.
“I get to meet the patient right at biopsy, so they know me from the start, all the way through, and that helps,” Dugan-Laemmle said.
Helping women navigate their breast cancer battle is her life's work.
“They go, how do you do what you do, it’s gotta be depressing, and it’s not because I look at it in the direction when I have a patient, we found the disease. That means I know that patient is going to get care, and she’s going to get help and be able to live,” Dugan-Laemmle said.
Helping women live is also the mission of Medical Oncologist Dr. Patrick Cobb. “Once a woman diagnosed with breast cancer comes to see us, we develop a long-term relationship with these ladies, and that lasts for years,” Dr. Cobb said.
After more than 30 years in this profession, time brings more hope.
“With the advances of surgery and radiation therapy, especially chemotherapy, the prognosis for a woman who is diagnosed, even with pretty advanced breast cancer, is much, much better than it was a long time ago,” Cobb said.
Licensed clinical worker Cathy Bevier sees hope, as women take on this unexpected turn.
“It seems like everyone’s life goes on, and then you with a cancer diagnosis, your life stops, and it becomes your treatment, your treatment plan your visits and so I think watching the hope that comes from the resilience of walking through those things, it’s very empowering,” Bevier said.