texas oncology more breakthroughs. more victories
Some of our cancer centers may have important notifications found on the location page. View More Important Notifications x

Caitlyn Rice: A Routine Mammogram Saved My Life

Caitlyn Rice

“A cancer diagnosis and treatment can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. My best advice is to stay positive, do not be afraid to lean on others, and most of all, have faith,” said Caitlyn.

Caitlyn Rice
Breast Cancer

As a high school math teacher, wife, and mother of two young children, ages 4 and 10, 38-year-old Caitlyn Rice lives a busy life in her hometown of Borger, Texas. Despite her demanding schedule, Caitlyn has always prioritized and remained on top of her health.

Caitlyn has a history of breast cancer on both sides of her family. Because of her family history, her healthcare provider recommended she begin breast cancer screenings at the age of 38, rather than starting at the recommended age of 40. In May 2022, her first routine mammogram confirmed she had stage zero breast cancer, the earliest form of breast cancer in which the abnormal cells are confined to the lining of the breast ducts, and if not treated, can progress to invasive cancer.

Catching Cancer Early

Caitlyn was diagnosed with a pre-invasive, early form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). As someone who has experienced the impact of cancer with family and loved ones, she was nervous and scared after hearing her diagnosis.

Srini Reddy, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Amarillo Cancer Center, comforted Caitlyn and reassured her that because of her vigilance in getting screened early and knowing her family history, her breast cancer was detected in a treatable stage and had not metastasized to her lymph nodes.

In July 2022, Caitlyn elected to have a bilateral mastectomy performed by C. Anne Doughtie, M.D., surgical oncologist at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo, to minimize her risk of recurrence in the future.

Learning To Love Her Body

After her bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Caitlyn's self-perception of her body changed, specifically, the size and feel of her breasts. However, over time, Caitlyn has started to embrace the changes and how she looks in her clothing, describing her body as strong.

“It has been an adjustment period since my body looks and feels differently, but with each day of recovery, I am learning to love my body again,” said Caitlyn.

Grateful for Her Support System

“A cancer diagnosis and treatment can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. My best advice is to stay positive about the diagnosis and outcome,” said Caitlyn.

She stresses the importance of regular screenings, especially for those who know they have a family history. For Caitlyn, early detection was key to an improved outcome, as opposed to if her cancer had been diagnosed at a later stage.

As one of the estimated 20,112 women in Texas who received a breast cancer diagnosis this year, Caitlyn is grateful for the continued support of her husband, family, and church community, who prayed for her and coordinated a meal train for her and her family.

“Feel empowered to ask for help and be open and willing to receive it. The show of support can help you recharge physically and mentally,” said Caitlyn. “During treatment, do not be afraid to lean on others. And most of all, have faith.”

In August 2022, Caitlyn started working at a new school and returned to the classroom to do what she loves most once again.

For more information on breast cancer and screenings, visit Texas Breast Specialists.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.