Interview with Robyn Sachs, MD – Breast Center
Why did you choose to work in the breast cancer field?
As a resident, I did a general surgery rotation, but, as a woman, I felt like my breast cancer patients were different – they needed more support. When I first meet a patient, many have had an abnormal mammogram – they are extremely anxious about what’s going to happen. I explain biopsies, and what to expect. Once someone has a breast cancer diagnosis, we talk about what kind of support they need, how they will talk to their children, if they need rides to treatment, and the full spectrum of support. We have the ability to provide them with whatever support they need.
What inspires you about your work?
Seeing patients 10 years or more out who have recovered, and knowing that we have helped to give them more time with their families and quality of life. Also, with early detection, knowing that we are helping to reduce mortality rates with breast cancer.
How is 2020 different, given the COVID-19 pandemic?
The interpersonal component is different – we need to keep a distance and be cautious, which has been difficult. It makes our jobs a lot more important in navigating patients through the healthcare system if they don’t have support.
What message would you like women to hear?
Screening mammograms are the only thing that’s been shown to reduce mortality – yearly mammograms after age 40 are so important. Early detection saves lives.
We know that our treatments are so much better than what they were in the past. Breast cancer is not the death sentence that it once was. There are things that we can do to improve survival. We’re learning much more about genetics – if someone does have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, they should talk to their doctor about their options.