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Surviving And Thriving

Focusing On The Patient Journey

A breast oncologist treated the patient, not just the cancer.

Cortney Kaiserman Bridges with her husband, Clint Bridges.

Cortney Kaiserman Bridges was in the prime of her life when her world came to a screeching halt. While doing a monthly breast self-exam, she felt a lump.

Concerned it could be cancerous, her radiologist recommended an ultrasound and biopsy. A few days later, Bridges got a call that would forever change her life. She had triple-negative breast cancer. Bridges was terrified. A prior illness had resulted in debilitating neuropathy, and Bridges feared the side effects of chemotherapy, so she refused treatment. Her physician, Carmen Calfa, M.D., a breast medical oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center — a part of UHealth - the University of Miami Health System — was not willing to take “no” for an answer.

“As a National Cancer Institutedesignated cancer center, Sylvester is able to offer options that others can’t,” said Dr. Calfa, who is also medical codirector for the cancer survivorship program at Sylvester. “We work together as a multidisciplinary team to tailor the treatment plan to the patient and their individual needs.”

What makes Sylvester special, said Dr. Calfa, is that it embraces the patient as a whole.

“I am very blessed to have found Dr. Calfa. She provided the love and support that I desperately needed during one of the darkest times of my life,” Bridges said, five years cancer-free. “Not a moment goes by that I do not thank her for allowing me to live this beautiful life today. I am forever grateful.”