Patient Blogs | Breast Cancer
Oncologists, Assemble! Trust-Building With My Cancer Team
photo of doctors walking outdoors

There’s a common trope in rom-com movies where a woman gripes to her friends about wanting to meet an esteemed man: a lawyer, an accountant, and most especially, a doctor. Well, guess who got to meet three doctors at the same time? That’s right, me. 

No, I wasn’t going on a dating app binge to find “the one.” I simply had the privilege of being diagnosed with breast cancer at 27 years old, which makes meeting multiple doctors at the same time a pretty easy goal to achieve. 

Jokes aside, meeting my medical team (or “cancer team,” as they were referred to) was terrifying and overwhelming, and I wish I had never met them. 

It’s not that they weren’t great -- of course, they were. They are. But let’s be real. I wish I never met them because I wish I’d never been diagnosed with cancer. Zero out of 10, would not recommend. 

Moments after I was diagnosed, I asked the nurse practitioner what my next steps would be. I’m the type of person that takes news -- good, bad, or otherwise -- as an opportunity to find out what to do next. I was ready to get started with treatment so I could get rid of the cancer ASAP. The nurse practitioner told me about the cancer team I’d be meeting, and I asked how soon I could meet them. 

The longest 8 days of my life passed between diagnosis and meeting my cancer team. On March 19, 2021, I was introduced to the three most important people I’d probably ever meet in my life: an oncologist, a breast surgeon, and a radiologist. One by one, they came into the room to talk to me. 

Two out of my three doctors were women: my oncologist and my breast surgeon, which was refreshing. My oncologist reminded me of a teacher; my surgeon reminded me of a caregiver; my radiologist reminded me of a dad. Each of them would have their role in saving my life, and I had to put all my trust and faith in their hands from the moment I met them. 

But they weren’t the only people in my medical team who were on my side. I also had a wonderful nurse navigator who helped me understand who everyone was, where I needed to go, and what I’d be expecting for the duration of my treatment. She reminded me of a friend. 

In addition to my cancer center medical crew, I had another doctor at a different hospital who I went to for my in-vitro fertilization (IVF) appointments and oocyte retrieval procedure. She was also a critical player in the “how to prepare for a cancer diagnosis in your 20s” game. 

I was equipped with doctors on all sides for different components of my treatment plan, but I’m not usually the type of person to trust people from the get-go. But in a situation like this, you really have no choice beyond putting your faith in people you’ve just met. 

And I’m not talking about second opinions -- go get those if you need to. I mean purely just putting your faith into strangers’ hands and saying, “I trust you have my best interests in mind.” 

I don’t do that. I don’t trust easily. So I had to find a way to build trust in the only way I know how: asking questions and being vulnerable. 

I didn’t shy away from asking about the “vain” stuff like bodily changes, losing my hair, and going into medically induced menopause. I wasn’t too scared to swear, cry, or send a million MyChart emails to my providers. I couldn’t pretend to be someone else when I was in the midst of losing the only “me” I knew how to be. 

My team met me with open arms, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally. They didn’t shoot down my concerns; they didn’t brush me off because I was “too young.” They listened, they acted, and they changed my life. 

What more could I really ask for? 


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Photo Credit: RUNSTUDIO / The Image Bank via Getty Images

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Rebecca Reynoso

Rebecca Reynoso

Diagnosed since 2021

Rebecca Reynoso is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with HER2+, stage IIB breast cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma) in March 2021, two weeks after turning 27. She underwent 13 months of intensive treatment (IVF, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and targeted therapy) and has since been declared no evidence of disease (NED) after completing treatment in April 2022. Reynoso is a full-time professional editor in the tech industry. She runs a website,, which helps newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and educates the public about women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 30. Reynoso also volunteers with Imerman Angels as a mentor to breast cancer patients and is the volunteer events coordinator for the Young Survival Coalition of Chicago.

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