Michelle Augspurger – Breast Cancer Success Story

On target for life after cancer

Michelle Augspurger – Breast Cancer Success StoryWhen it was time to deal with her breast cancer diagnosis, Michelle Augspurger made an important decision.

“I decided to remain calm and focus on getting to that last day of treatment,” says Michelle, a 50-year-old Duncanville mother of four. “It’s advice I’d recommend to anyone going through a similar situation, especially on those days when it seems like it’s never going to end.”

But Michelle’s cancer journey did come to a victorious end in August, thanks in large part to the Breast Center at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Michelle’s journey began last spring, when a troubling symptom led to a diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), one of the most common types of breast cancers, which then eventually led to a mastectomy.

“Michelle’s subtype of IDC tends to be aggressive,” says Martin Koonsman, MD, director of the Breast Center. “After her tumors were removed in surgery, our team recommended a combined course of chemotherapy and targeted therapy. This treatment plan has proved very effective at preventing recurrence of this type of cancer.”

Support and collaboration

Despite the challenges of surgery and treatment, Michelle says her Methodist Dallas care team inspired hope and confidence — not just through their positive encouragement, but also through a multi-disciplinary, big-picture approach to her care.

“Our program performs at nearly 100 percent on a range of benchmarks that relate to patient care,” Dr. Koonsman says. “We believe that’s a result of working as a team instead of in silos.”

In contrast to a traditional model of breast cancer treatment, where specialist physicians work somewhat independently of each other, the specialists at the Breast Center often see a patient together and meet weekly to formulate patient treatment plans.

“We include everyone in these round tables, from radiation oncologists to nurse navigators to data collection specialists,” Dr. Koonsman says. “Post treatment, we have a survivorship nurse navigator who follows up with patients to track their progress and make sure they have the information they need.”

Michelle says her nurse navigators made sure that she had answers to her questions, and that the doctors were always willing to take the time to explain her care plan.

“I always felt like I mattered to them and that I was receiving the best care possible,” she says.