Breast cancer patient says self-breast exam saved her life

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


Susanne Babcock, 52, of Grosse Pointe, understands the importance of self-breast exams. For years, they were part of her routine, a routine that saved her life.

During the summer of 2012, she discovered a lump and scheduled a mammogram.

“I was screened fairly quickly, but they told me I wouldn’t get the results for another two weeks,” Babcock said.

Two weeks was too long to wait, so she called the Breast Care Center at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe and scheduled an appointment.

“It was a complete whirlwind,” Babcock confessed. “There was little time to worry.”

She arrived with films from her first mammogram at the other hospital. Beaumont radiologist Michele Ramsdell, M.D., ordered an additional ultrasound and several biopsies.

“If we see a suspicious abnormality on a mammogram, we do the ultrasound the same day.” Dr. Ramsdell said. “We also offer the patient the option of having a biopsy that day because we know waiting for a procedure or screening results is difficult.”

The next day, Dr. Ramsdell delivered sobering news: “It’s cancer. I’m very sorry.”

Dr. Ramsdell worked with her colleagues at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and arranged for Babcock to meet with a team of specialists including a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, reconstructive surgeon and nurse navigator.

“I didn’t have to schedule a single appointment, she did it for me. That was huge,” Babcock said. “Beaumont has an amazing, aggressive treatment plan. I’m grateful to the entire team.” 

This summer, Babcock plans to celebrate a milestone. Patients who make it to the five-year mark are considered cancer-free.

“I tell all my friends and family to take charge of their health and perform regular self-exams,” Babcock said.