Dr. Susan Laduzinsky
Learn about Dr. Laduzinky’s role at the Breast Health Center and how her battle with breast cancer helps her commiserate with patients.
Meet Dr. Susan Laduzinsky, a radiation oncologist.
When do you first recall wanting to be a doctor?
Watching Dr. Kildare and Marcus Welby on television growing up. They were really nice people who did nice things and everybody thought they were great.
What are some of the common questions patients have?
Usually patients just want reassurance that they are going to be okay. And luckily most of them do very well.
Talk about the process of creating a treatment plan.
At the time of consultation, she and the patient go through the typical history and physical exam, and she tells them about their cancer. She explains why they need to do radiation therapy. The simulation process is the first step the patient will go through, and this is a CAT scan in a certain position. They use certain devices to make sure the patient is in the same position every time they come in for radiation. Then, their CAT scan goes through a planning process with many people, and it takes a full week to process the plan. She explains that process to the patient, so they understand why they have to wait so long before they can get started. During treatment, Dr. Laduzinsky sees them weekly just to see how things are going and to let them know what to anticipate over the next week. There is a dietitian who meets with the patient to promote healing. For breast cancer, they also give the patient skin salves, because skin can get irritated with radiation treatments.
How does being a breast cancer survivor help you in caring for your patients?
She says that the experience isn’t something you can appreciate or understand until you’ve gone through it yourself. It’s been nine years since her diagnosis, and she had a pretty bad cancer. It can be reassuring to patients to know nine years later she is still here and doing fine. Dr. Laduzinsky went through surgery, chemotherapy…they threw everything at her. Then she had radiation and reconstruction. She went through all the phases any woman would go through. She said she and her patients kind of commiserate. It’s a little like guys talking about their old war stories. The same thing goes on in the support group, Hope Blooms, for breast cancer patients. They share their stories, and for some reason it helps to know other people have gone through it as well.