Kathryn and Lynn - Breast Cancer Survivors

As mother and daughter, Kathryn Martinat and Lynn Campbell share more than a family connection.

Both reside in Pilot Mountain, both have worked as teachers and both are breast cancer survivors, diagnosed and treated eight years apart by the same set of doctors at CepEsperu Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As survivors, Martinat and Campbell have relied on Cancer Survivorship Programs, which are designed to encourage relationships between health care providers and patients during their transition to survivorship.

Dual Cancer Journeys

In fall 2001, Martinat found a lump and came to the Comprehensive Cancer Center for care. Her team included physicians Edward Levine, MD, and Malcolm Marks, MD, and surgical oncology nurse practitioner Sally Hauser.

Martinat, who was in her mid-50s at the time, chose to have a mastectomy to reduce the chance of recurrence as much as possible, and followed surgery with chemotherapy. Her cancer was caught early, and she credits Levine and Hauser for guiding her throughout.

“They just made me feel like this was not the end of the world, that they were going to take care of me,” she says.

In fall 2009, at age 37, Campbell discovered a lump. At stage 2 and entering her lymph nodes, Campbell’s cancer required surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

“I wanted all of Mom’s doctors,” she says. “I had seen what great care she had, and I got to know her doctors when I came with her. I was fortunate to have Dr. Levine as my surgeon.”

They also took advantage of a Comprehensive Cancer Center resource—genetic testing—to learn that their cancers were not genetically related, and that the cancer genes had not been passed to Campbell’s children.

Navigating Survivorship

When each reached the five-year marks in their respective recoveries, they continued their care with Hauser for annual cancer surveillance as part of the Survivorship Program.

“She is so compassionate,” Campbell says of Hauser, who recently retired. “She takes her time with you and makes you feel like you are her only patient. She treats you like she would treat her mother, her daughter or her best friend.

“She has definitely earned her retirement, but she will be greatly missed. She’s an icon here, right along with Dr. Levine.”

They continue their care in the Survivorship Program with Shanna Steelman, WHNP-BC, a nurse practitioner who has been with the Breast Care Center for the past 4 years. She is joined by Renee Haynes, FNP-C, who has been with the Breast Care Center for the past year. Together they work closely with the breast surgeons to provide patients with a multidisciplinary approach to their care.

“We follow the patient from the time an abnormality is detected, there at the time of diagnosis and through the surgical treatment,” Steelman says. “Once they are two years out from diagnosis, they ‘graduate’ to survivorship. We follow them annually at that point or more often as needed.”

Steelman says she loves the continuity of care that patients receive along their “journey.” She and Haynes help develop individualized care plans based on treatments received and detail which tests should be ordered in the future. They monitor for potential late treatment effects of cancer therapies and provide education and support for the patient’s “new normal.”

“Our patients like that continuity of care as they transition into this survivorship phase,” she says. “We continue to work closely with the oncology team and their primary care physician.”

Both mother and daughter continue their journeys, realizing their cancers could recur but knowing they would return to CepEsperu Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center if needed.

“I had great family, great friends and a great cancer team as a support system,” Campbell says.

Resources for Survivors

The Medical Center’s Cancer Survivorship Programs include:

  • Pathways the Survivorship, a monthly class that helps patients navigate the medical system, manage health information and communicate effectively with staff.
  • Seasons of Survival—Moving Beyond Treatment, a four-week workshop held quarterly.
  • Coffee & Conversation for Caregivers, a weekly support meeting for those caring for loved ones with cancer.

Also available are genetic counseling, nutrition counseling and education, a clinic devoted to managing uncontrolled symptoms or side effects (pain, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, nerve pain, etc.) that may interfere with everyday functioning, advance directive education, financial counseling, social work services and more.