"You have a lump and it could be breast cancer." Those are words no woman wants to hear.
After the initial shock, the questions come: What does my diagnosis mean? What type of surgery should I have? What about chemo or radiation?
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, it can feel overwhelming and raise many questions. Detailed explanations by good-intentioned doctors at this point may be too much too soon if a patient isn't emotionally ready. That's why doctors at Mayo Clinic developed a new educational tool designed to help women diagnosed with breast cancer get the information they need to help make their journey a little easier.
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., a breast health specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wanted to take away the fear of that overwhelming information. Her vision included the creation of a resource that starts with the basics and then teaches in a step-by-step process.
That resource is a new computerized education tool, which Dr. Pruthi and her team developed and tested to help women better understand their disease and reduce their anxiety. It combines video and color images to explain the pathology of different breast cancers, their staging and grade, as well as surgical, medical, radiation and reconstructive treatment options.
The education tool helps doctors communicate with patients and their families. Numerous leading medical institutions have expressed interest in using this tool for patient education, and Dr. Pruthi hopes to soon make the tool available worldwide.
One of Dr. Pruthi's patients shares how this tool helped her. "Those terms you've never heard before that mean nothing to you — to tie them visually to what was going on inside your body was a huge tool for me to make decisions and feel like I was informed and know exactly what I was deciding on."