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After breast cancer diagnosis and treatment: I feel I can do anything

September 19, 2013

Sarah Greene was only 25 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first she cried, but within minutes she also made a choice to fight—not fall apart. Her research led her to Duke.

She knew the Duke Cancer Institute -- known for its care of young women with breast cancer -- was the right place when she learned about its approach to clinic visits. That is, when she came to the Duke Cancer Center, she made only one stop. Instead of spending the day going to see her medical oncologist, her radiation oncologist, and her surgeon, all her doctors came to her. One after the other, the specialists knocked on her exam room door to give her information and discuss her options.

“They take the time you need to discuss all of the possible options, so you know you are making the right decisions,” Greene said.

Single, childless and dealing with decisions that are typically faced in middle age, Greene said she’s been comforted by the care she received from breast cancer specialist Kim Blackwell, MD, and by the vast amount of information she received at her first appointment.

“There is so much to learn, especially about support resources. Rather than handling things myself, as I did at first, I am now reaching out, finding people my age with the same kinds of problems,” she said.

The care she gets at Duke is comfortable as well as comforting, she said. “You don’t feel like you’re at a place that’s just for sick people. My treatment room is like a spa.”

Refusing to let cancer slow her down, Greene is sticking to her plan to run long races in all 50 states and perhaps even in foreign countries. Her latest half-marathon, her eighth, was the Rock and Roll Marathon in Washington, DC. She hopes to run in Ireland soon.

“For me, cancer is just a blip on the map,” she says. “Thanks to the support I am getting from friends and health care professionals, and the treatments I’ve been through so far, I really do feel I can do anything.”

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