Texas doctor, breast cancer survivor have advice for breast cancer patients

Both women in town for San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium are helping patients navigate journey

Cancer is a heavy word. And a Texas surgeon and breast cancer survivor want to make sure newly diagnosed patients don’t feel alone.

SAN ANTONIO – Cancer is a heavy word. And a Texas surgeon and breast cancer survivor want to make sure newly diagnosed patients don’t feel alone.

“[When I was diagnosed]…time stopped. The world stopped,” Stacey Tinianov said.

Tinianov is among the hundreds in San Antonio this week for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. She’s attending as a patient advocate. Her journey began in 2013, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and months after that, she received her own diagnosis.

“When they did the mastectomy, I…had two invasive tumors. So, it was classified as a stage 1B,” Tinianov said.

After her experience, Tinianov learned it was important to ask doctors lots of questions. She encourages patients to do the same.

“The most important piece for somebody who is newly diagnosed is not ‘What targeted therapy can I have?’ It’s ‘How can I get the best diagnostic testing to see whether or not there’s a target that can play a role in my cancer treatment.’”

Oncologists often emphasize that each cancer diagnosis is different, and that the severity of the cancer determines the type of treatment that’s best for the patient. Some will require chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, oral medication, or a combination of therapies. A breast surgeon from the Baylor College of Medicine advises patients to get more than one medical opinion, since treatments can vary.

“Because of the advances in drug treatments, particularly, what we’re trying to do is shrink down the cancer first, and that can mean we do smaller operations on the breast, and smaller operations in the… armpit…Therefore, we have less impact, a less cosmetic effect, often on the breast and chest wall,” Dr. Alastair Thompson said.

As for Tinianov, she’s been in remission since January 2014. Now, she dedicates her time to helping cancer patients navigate their journeys.

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WATCH BELOW: KSAT spoke with Houston breast surgeon Dr. Alastair Thompson, who answered viewer questions and shared advice for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients on Day 3 of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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About the Author:

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.