One year after her diagnosis of breast cancer, Penny Jacques of Sanford has a message for people newly diagnosed with cancer: the best care is here in Maine. That’s why, when her medical oncologist Dr. Eva Zaslavsky of Southern Maine Health Care asked her if she would consider being featured in an upcoming public awareness campaign for the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network, Penny didn’t hesitate. “I feel like I got the best care and was really comfortable staying in the same network of doctors because their communication was instantaneous,” she said. “The doctors have been fantastic and the staff made this journey smoother and comforting.”
Penny began a six-month course of chemotherapy in July 2016. She received her infusion therapy at network partner Cancer Care Center of York County. In the winter of 2017, she underwent a double mastectomy at Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford, followed by reconstructive surgery. Penny had genetic testing done at the Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic in Scarborough, a program of Maine Medical Center, which also is a partner in the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network.
A key member of Penny’s care team was Breast Care Nurse Navigator Helene Langley, R.N., B.S., CBCN, CN-BN, ONN-CG. “Helene took care of everything, hooked me up with appointments and told me what I could expect along the way,” said Penny. Even the staff at SMHC’s Medical Center in Sanford, where Penny had frequent blood work done, greeted her by name and, like others she met throughout treatment, “they were very reassuring.”
As a featured survivor, Penny hopes to help others just beginning their cancer journey. “I remember how scared I was at first,” she recalled. “Now if I can help someone else not be so scared and understand the support that’s there for you, I want to be part of that.”