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Texas Breast Specialists–San Antonio Northeast Welcomes Dr. Rachel E. Kaczynski

October 01, 2022

Rachel E. Kaczynski, D.O., breast surgeon, is now treating patients at Texas Breast Specialists–San Antonio Northeast. Dr. Kaczynski shares a defining moment in her medical training during the pandemic and what her family looks forward to exploring in San Antonio.

What inspired you to specialize in breast surgery?

I have experienced breast cancer from the patient perspective, watching my close friends and family who were diagnosed at various ages. I was touched by one very special patient during my second year of general surgery residency with whom I had the opportunity to work very closely. I realized I truly enjoyed spending one-on-one time with my patients to ensure they felt reassured and in good spirits throughout their treatment process. I keep a butterfly on my desk to remember her and the impact she had on me. I chose breast surgery because I feel women deserve a doctor who listens, understands, and guides them step by step through one of the most difficult times of their lives. I am honored to be that person for my patients.

What do you wish more people knew about breast health and/or breast cancer?

Every woman should start screening for breast cancer at age 40. I wish more people knew about the importance of going in for your routine mammogram every year and not skipping a year because your last one was normal. I would also encourage women to speak up if they notice subtle changes in their breasts. All women can assess their own risk for developing breast cancer using The National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. Men should not forget they may be at risk too, so knowing your family history is key for prevention and early detection.

What has been a defining moment in your medical education?

Completing my surgical residency in New York City during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was tough. Due to the pandemic, I did not have a graduation for my residency, so being able to have a graduation for my fellowship was incredibly meaningful and a defining moment representing all the hard work I put in to accomplish my goals. I hope we can utilize the lessons learned from the past few years to continue improving the future of patient care.

How did your time in the Air Force affect your philosophy as a physician/motivation to be a physician?

My service as a flight surgeon in the Air Force taught me the value of teamwork in critical and diverse times. One of our missions, “Fly-Fight-Win," very much applies to my philosophy on cancer care as a breast surgeon. I strive to use what I learned during my time serving to help my breast cancer patients fight in any way I can. To my former squadron and commanders who helped shape me into the physician I am today, “Once a Bulldog…”

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever visited? 

As an avid scuba diver, my favorite place to visit is Cozumel, Mexico. However, the lava tubes in Lanai, Hawaii, and the sea lions at the Sea of Cortez take a close second on my scuba diving memory list.

What is the number one item on your bucket list you’d like to achieve this year?

One item on my bucket list I would like to achieve is being hooded and becoming a fellow member of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS) next fall.

What are you looking forward to exploring in San Antonio?

My daughter loves Elmo, so we are excited to visit Sea World as a family for more Elmo encounters! We are also looking forward to finding fun dog parks, hiking spots, and exploring the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.