Why We Do It
Second Breast Cancer Diagnosis Brings Patient Full Circle
In 1995, Sharon Faucher found herself on the receiving end of a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 39. She then underwent a mastectomy, based on the recommendation of her doctor.
“Back then, some breast cancer patients referred to the surgery as a drive-through mastectomy,” Faucher explained. “Women would go in, get the surgery and, in less than 24 hours, they were sent home with no support whatsoever. It felt barbaric.”
After her recovery, Faucher was asked to travel with a group of women to the White House in Washington, D.C., in hopes of changing the mastectomy process for others moving forward.
“We met with President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton and every woman shared their story,” Faucher said.
The meeting prompted considerable change. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1997 required insurance companies to allow women to stay in the hospital as long as necessary after a mastectomy, based on their doctor’s recommendation.
“It was a big deal. I felt that I fought for other women,” Faucher said.
Fast forward to 2021, and she, like so many other women, had put off her annual mammogram during the pandemic. When she went in May, the mammogram revealed three areas of concern.
She was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.
“The emotion was so different than the first time. Back then, I was scared. This time, I was not only scared, but I was angry,” said Faucher, who opted to seek care from the team of dedicated professionals at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Her experience would be much different the second time around, thanks to her efforts to bring about change more than two decades earlier.
“Hartford HealthCare was phenomenal. From the moment of my diagnosis until my post-surgery follow-up appointments,” said Faucher, crediting the process, guidance and encouragement of Dr. April Duckworth, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group, her team and beyond.
While she didn’t want to go through such a difficult diagnosis for a second time, Faucher said she was able to see what it’s like to experience a personal diagnosis with dignity.
“Everyone was incredible and I was in a better place emotionally and mentally compared to what I had to experience 26 years prior,” she said. “This is the way every woman should be treated when faced with a breast cancer diagnosis. That care and compassion makes a world of a difference.”
“This is the way every woman should be treated when faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.”
- Sharon Faucher