"I was dumbfounded and the only thing I could do was just ask my doctors, what could be done," breast cancer survivor Naimah Trotter said.
Naimah Trotter is 53-year-old resident of Islip. She has always been diligent with her mammograms, but ultimately she detected her breast cancer herself.
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"It was Labor Day, last year and I was in the shower, doing a routine exam, and I discovered a lump," Trotter said.
She then confirmed with a mammogram what her doctors said was a five centimeter tumor, the most aggressive type of breast cancer - triple negative.
"When I heard those words, the first thing that I thought was that I needed to get my affairs in order," Trotter said.
If it weren't for her doctors at the Northwell facility in Bay Shore, things might have gone a whole lot differently.
Her bi-lateral mastectomy was initially scheduled for the end of March, but that was the start of the pandemic, so it was canceled.
Fortunately, patients like Trotter can significantly target their cancer with chemotherapy prior to any surgery, and her chemo lasted five months.
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Her surgeon explained to us that the key was having a game plan.
"Cancer doesn't stop and neither do we," Northwell Breast Surgical Oncologist Dr. Melissa Fana said. "We have tailored treatment plans, we can achieve excellent results."
They arranged for her to at least get a lumpectomy in April.
"We saw that there was no residual cancer after the chemotherapy, which was a huge success," Fana said.
Trotter was able to get the full mastectomy and reconstruction by the end of June, three months later than she had hoped, but with no cancer spreading thanks to the support of family and doctors.
The takeaway, treatments may pivot, but you can't be afraid to see a doctor during the pandemic.
Trotter's bravery - likely made the biggest difference in her outcome.
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