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Debra Campbell: Nurse Gains New Insight into Caregiving

“It’s a cliché, but there are no stupid questions. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you’re getting mammograms and screenings on time. It’s important not to be scared, just get it done.” (Also pictured Dr. Anand Shivnani.)

Debra Campbell
Breast Cancer

With no direct experience in oncology, it was her strong relationships that most helped Debra Campbell thrive during breast cancer treatment. After initially undergoing surgery as part of her treatment plan, it was her breast surgeon, Lynn Canavan, M.D., who recommended Debra for a radiation therapy newly offered near her home at Texas Oncology–McKinney. The treatment, called high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, offered a precise form of radiation that comes within one-millimeter accuracy, minimizing damage to healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. What’s more, the procedure would shorten her treatment time from weeks to just five days.

Debra was the first patient at Texas Oncology–McKinney to participate in the treatment, led by Dr. Anand Shivnani. Dr. Shivnani had performed the procedure at other clinics and, through his expertise and guidance, the therapy is now available to the McKinney community.

“Debra was the perfect ‘first’ patient to be treated with HDR brachytherapy in McKinney. As a nurse and an educator, she understood the importance of establishing a good process with good communication between all the members of the radiation team to make sure her treatment went smoothly. Our team greatly enjoyed the opportunity to take care of her,” said Dr. Shivnani.

Debra, for her part, was excited by the opportunity.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I got to know the team well. They were all very involved, and I was encouraged by the opportunity to take part in an exciting new offering. Even though I was a care provider for years, it was my first experience with cancer, and I learned a lot,” Debra said.

Now, Debra is highlighting the importance of awareness, communication, and education when it comes to a cancer diagnosis. The most important thing she learned during her journey was not to be afraid – especially when it comes to asking questions. Even as a nurse, Debra acknowledges she often didn’t understand what her oncologists were saying, so she educated herself by asking for clarification and reviewing her options alongside the care team.

“It’s a cliché, but there are no stupid questions. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you’re getting mammograms and screenings on time. It’s important not to be scared, just get it done.”

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.