Tami Strantz's breast cancer was not detected until it was advanced, and it made her treatment much more difficult.
A few months before her 40th birthday, Strantz felt pain in her underarms and breasts. She noticed a lump a few months later, but didn't have it checked.
"I have fibrocystic breasts, which often have lumpy-feeling areas, but I was also in denial and afraid to know that I might have cancer," she says.
When she noticed a discharge from her breast, Strantz finally went to her doctor. Anne Olson, MD, arranged for a mammogram and ultrasound the same day.
Strantz then had a biopsy. Within a couple of days she knew for certain that she had advanced breast cancer.
Her treatment began with a mastectomy and several reconstructive procedures. Strantz credits Cambridge Medical Center, the radiology staff and Oncologist Stephen Mann for quickly making her diagnosis and following her throughout a long cancer treatment process.
In addition to being a cancer survivor, Strantz is a nurse at Cambridge Medical Center.
She says surviving cancer "has brought more meaning to my work. When new patients come in, I understand the anxiety they are feeling. When I tell them I have been through it myself, they light up and ask lots of questions."
When Strantz meets people whose breast cancer was detected early, she knows they have less to worry about than she did.
"If you have any symptoms or changes, get it checked right away," Strantz says. "Don't let fear of cancer hold you back, and don't worry about feeling silly if it turns out to be nothing. I waited too long."
Cambridge Medical Center, Healthy Communities Magazine, fall 2010; Tami Strantz, LPN, Cambridge Medical Center
Anne M Olson, MD, Cambridge Medical Center
To schedule a mammogram at Cambridge Medical Center, call 763-688-6380.
The motto "don't get mad, get even!" has helped Tami Strantz recover from breast cancer and become a whirlwind fundraiser for breast cancer research.