St. Anthony's nurses Judy Evans (L), Cathy Dobbs-Bowe (C) and Karen Studyvin (R), all breast cancer patients, enjoy a “gals' day out” at Oberweis Dairy in south St. Louis County.
Nursing Each Other Through Breast Cancer
Seeking the best care following a diagnosis of breast cancer.
At St. Anthony's, our employees make it their mission to give the very best care to every patient, every day. In some cases, they become the patients, seeking compassionate, premier care close to home.
For three St. Anthony's employees, breast cancer statistics became highly personal last year. They were among the 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during their lives, regardless of whether they had a family history that increases the risk for breast cancer.
“Mine was caught early during a routine mammogram at the Breast Health Center,” says Cathy Dobbs-Bowe, RN. “It's such a frustrating and scary time, especially because I had a grandmother with breast cancer and I also have two teen daughters.”
She underwent a bilateral mastectomy last May after a biopsy confirmed cancer was radiating from the milk ducts and into surrounding breast tissue. It is the most commonly diagnosed type of breast cancer.
Judy Evans, RN, BS, CCM, also was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. “You go numb and think this can't be happening to you,” she recalls. Diagnosed with a more aggressive breast cancer, Evans did what many women do when seeking the best options. “I got a second opinion,” she says matter-of-factly.
After talking with her husband and daughter, Evans returned to Sarah Beth Snell, MD, a surgical oncologist at St. Anthony's. “I came back because she was wonderful and aggressive in rapidly identifying the best cancer treatment.”
“You need a doctor who is going to be in your corner throughout the entire fight,” adds Dobbs- Bowe. “You meet so many doctors in the days and weeks after diagnosis that you get confused. Dr. Snell was there every step of the way, explaining things and discussing my case with other cancer specialists. I couldn't have asked for a better advocate.”
Through a breast cancer support group at St. Anthony's, the two met Karen Studyvin, RN, BSN, a fellow employee who had put off getting her mammogram for two years. “I knew better but just didn't make it a priority,” she says. “That was my mistake and now I tell women all the time not to skip their annual mammograms.”
The three friends often schedule time to be “gal pals.” When Evans wondered about the results of breast reconstruction, Dobbs-Bowe not only explained it, she proudly showed what surgeon Thomas Olivier, MD, recreated. “I have a breast that makes me feel and look normal,” says Dobbs-Bowe, who remarried this past March. “That makes me feel fantastic.”
Recently, the trio held hands as they rallied together to support Studyvin during ongoing rounds of chemotherapy.
“These ladies are a lifeline and give me inspiration,” she says with a smile as tears well up in her eyes. “We work at St. Anthony's. We've all had our treatment here. Now we're doing what millions of women have done. We're wearing pink ribbons and calling ourselves breast cancer survivors.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
At St. Anthony's, our vision is to be the area's premier health care organization
— and your first choice for health care services.