Women's health

Breast cancer therapy

A matter of trust

Andrea Lutz
Published on October 1, 2022
<p>“After I got my diagnosis, it was important for me to keep working because I didn't feel unwell. I was back in the studio three days after surgery,” Dany Michalski explains. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, she was still engaged in a successful international modeling career and appearing on various TV shows. The diagnosis turned her life upside down — but Dany beat the cancer. In 2016, five years after her initial diagnosis, she was officially cancer-free.</p>
<p>In 2021, the cancer returned. This time, the 46-year-old knows exactly what she wants and what she can do to face the cancer and remain strong. The fact that Dany Michalski detected the tumor during a self-examination is critical to the progression of the disease. Regular self-examination of the breasts are recommended for every woman. In Dany’s case, it may well have given her a decisive head start and, subsequently, better treatment options.</p>
<p>After she had had her initial scans, Dany Michalski started to look for a certified breast health center with exactly the right experts to entrust with her treatment and found them in South Baden. She was undeterred by the 600-kilometer trip because Dany’s top priority was trust, which she very quickly found in the team in Baden: “It feels good to feel welcomed. I never had the impression that I was powerless or just another number.” The Brustzentrum Südbaden encompasses two hospitals: the Evangelisches Diakoniekrankenhaus Freiburg and the Kreiskrankenhaus Emmendingen. In partnership with other providers, the center forms an expert community that provides patients with a breast cancer diagnosis with top-notch consultation and care. They coordinate their services to avoid unnecessary examinations. In one-on-one consultations, the supervising physician and the patient discuss each treatment option that is proposed at the tumor conference. It is this highly personalized support from a single contact person that helped Dany Michalski gain trust so quickly.</p>
Collage of different fotos of Dany Michalski's breast cancer therapy
<p>Medical director Dirk Watermann explains the approach: “Patients are always seen by the same doctor from their very first visit to the end of follow-up. If the women met with different colleagues at every visit, it would be much more difficult to offer optimal diagnostics and therapy.” Watermann also employs dedicated Breast Care Nurses who are specialized staff who support patients with all their issues. “Although the radiation workflow is tightly synchronized, it didn’t feel rushed,” Dany Michalski recalls of the follow-up diagnostics and therapy planning phase. This approach suits her personality and attitude perfectly, as she explains: “Every woman has to find her own way.” She stresses the importance of making room for emotions and always doing what feels right. For Dany, this means still being in front of the camera and keeping on working.</p>
<p>Dany Michalski wants to remain in the spotlight, to pursue her work as a TV professional, but also to share her breast cancer journey. This is why she made a conscious choice to make her battle with cancer public: “I want to give courage to other patients,” she says. Anyone who has seen her in front of a camera knows that she has more than enough strength to share with others.</p>

By Andrea Lutz
Andrea Lutz is a journalist and business trainer specialized on medical topics, technology, and healthcare IT. She lives in Nuremberg, Germany.