Nesting With The Earley Birds

Boobies, Cancer, Mammograms OH MY!

October 27, 2020 Dr. Polly L. Stephens Season 1 Episode 15
Nesting With The Earley Birds
Boobies, Cancer, Mammograms OH MY!
Chapters
Nesting With The Earley Birds
Boobies, Cancer, Mammograms OH MY!
Oct 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 15
Dr. Polly L. Stephens

Guys!  I had a beautiful day interviewing a gem of a lady - Dr. Polly Stephens with Virginia Breast Center for Women - did you know that she is one of the founders of VA Breast Center?
This is a longer but super informative episode that covers everything you never wanted to know about boobs and disorders.  

Polly L. Stephens, M.D., F.A.C.S. :Dr. Stephens attended Bryn Mawr College for her undergraduate degree. She received her medical degree from Tulane University and completed a five-year general surgery residency at Waterbury Hospital Health Center, in Waterbury, Conn., an affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine. She is certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and is an active member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Aside from a one-year sabbatical in New Zealand, Dr. Stephens has been a surgeon in Richmond since 1998.

You can find Dr. Stephens and her partners at vabreastcenter.com 
(804) 594 - 3130


PLEASE  email me at [email protected] if you have any other questions you'd like for Dr. Stephens to answer!

Thanks so much for coming - and remember to take care of the boobs that God gave you, and maybe your friend's boobs as well.

Music: Scott Holmes: Happy Ukulele

This episode is dedicated to all of the women that have gone through breast scares, or breast cancers.  God loves you guys.

Show Notes Transcript

Guys!  I had a beautiful day interviewing a gem of a lady - Dr. Polly Stephens with Virginia Breast Center for Women - did you know that she is one of the founders of VA Breast Center?
This is a longer but super informative episode that covers everything you never wanted to know about boobs and disorders.  

Polly L. Stephens, M.D., F.A.C.S. :Dr. Stephens attended Bryn Mawr College for her undergraduate degree. She received her medical degree from Tulane University and completed a five-year general surgery residency at Waterbury Hospital Health Center, in Waterbury, Conn., an affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine. She is certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and is an active member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Aside from a one-year sabbatical in New Zealand, Dr. Stephens has been a surgeon in Richmond since 1998.

You can find Dr. Stephens and her partners at vabreastcenter.com 
(804) 594 - 3130


PLEASE  email me at [email protected] if you have any other questions you'd like for Dr. Stephens to answer!

Thanks so much for coming - and remember to take care of the boobs that God gave you, and maybe your friend's boobs as well.

Music: Scott Holmes: Happy Ukulele

This episode is dedicated to all of the women that have gone through breast scares, or breast cancers.  God loves you guys.

Shannon Earley:

Hello, this is Shannon Earley, the hostess of nesting with the early birds podcast. And today is a super special day. Because Well, it's October October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So I actually have a super amazing guest. I'm sitting on her back deck right now. Welcome so much to Episode 15. And welcome back to my show. You guys every time you share this show, it keeps growing and growing. And also this lady that I'm interviewing actually really likes it too. So even smart, super intelligent, wonderful people like this show. So thank you very much for coming back guys to Episode 15 of nesting with early bird. So we're sitting on her back deck right now. And actually the first time I met this person is when she was actually giving me a breast exam. This lady is one of the founders of the Virginia Breast Center for Women. She is a gangster in the field of breast surgery, breast medicine and health. She's been in this area for 22 years and she is an amazing, gentle super smart soul. Please welcome to the show. Dr. Polly Stevens.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Hi.

Shannon Earley:

Thank you for coming. I'm super pumped. Me too. Good to do this. Did I tell you I was pumped already?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yes, yeah. Yes, that's happened.

Shannon Earley:

That's right. I'm super excited. And Dr. Stevens, I was telling you earlier, I had seen that you've been interviewed a ton of times, like on Virginia this morning. And do you remember is there any interviews that you were like, well, that really stuck with me.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

The one thing that came to mind when he said the interviews I was on interviewed on the radio once and I got home and we were talking about, so breast cancer can go into the lymph nodes in the axilla. So on the radio, and I said, I said that and I said in the accela you know the armpit. And then when I got home one of my kids said I heard you say armpit on the radio.

Shannon Earley:

If my kids were like, only excited about me saying armpit they didn't even know. Well, we'll talk about that later. Basically, they didn't know that some of the words I say were cuss words, my poor sweet babies. So. So it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And actually, Dr. Stevens, I'm in a mops group. And one of the women in my mops group was actually diagnosed with breast cancer last year. And whatever kind it is, is the kind of like, if you have it, it's the best kind that you would want to have. But she still ended up having to have a mastectomy, mastectomy, mastectomy, mastectomy, she still ended up having of the chemo, she lost her hair. It was awful. And actually, she is very excited. I'm talking with you. And she's doing super well. She was actually going to be interviewed as well. And then she just said, You know what, I'm not finished with my reconstruction process yet. I think I'll feel better after that. But she is really excited that we get to talk and she's really excited that we're spreading more awareness about you know, boop health. Yeah, yeah. So she actually what she found a lump em and then she had a mammogram. So maybe for any of the people listening out there, why is a mammogram important?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

All right, so I'm gonna backtrack a little and do it talk about how we find breast cancer. So we typically start doing mammograms, age 40. Okay. And mammograms are useful because they can pick up changes in the breast tissue before you can feel something. And the reason we started at age 40, is because breast cancer is not that common under age 40. But it happens. So people need to hear this and say, Well, I had breast cancer, right? 30, right. And that's why self breast exam is important, because we don't start doing nowhere. I'm still 40. The reason we don't do them before age 40 is because the breast tissue is really dense. And

Shannon Earley:

I have dense breasts found that out. heterogeneously dense.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

There you go. Do you see that?

Shannon Earley:

There we go.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

And so mammograms often aren't that useful. And women under age 40 they get a mammogram and they can't really see that much. So the incidence is low, and the main brands aren't that helpful. We used to do a screening mammogram at 35. And then if that was normal start at age 40. Or if you have family history, start before 40. Mm hmm.

Shannon Earley:

I think 35 is a great age to start.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, I think it's a good I still encourage my patients to do that. Mm hmm.

Shannon Earley:

Well, I'm because when they talk about breast cancer awareness, oftentimes they talk about self exams and feeling a lump. And so honestly, that causes a little anxiety thinking while the mammogram can find you problems, before you feel it.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

two or three or four years before you can.

Shannon Earley:

Wow. So that's why they could be useful. Yeah. And so there's the differences. Um, you can get a 2d mammogram, yeah. And a 3d mammogram. Can you explain the difference of the two of those?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, I'm just gonna throw one other thing, please. sonship task forces that say don't need mammograms until you're 45 or 50. And I find those very frustrating because mammograms are quick. They're, you know, a little bit uncomfortable, but they really give a lot of information. So I would really recommend everyone do it.

Shannon Earley:

Which by the way, I feel like people are really scary about, oh, America, I'm so uncomfortable. It was fine, I guess

Dr. Polly Stephens:

fine. Real quick, and they pinch it, they squish a little. Yeah. So 2d, 3d, 2d. 2d is basically the mammograms we've been doing for 40 years where they take one picture, one horizontal picture and one vertical picture. And then in the past five years, what's become almost standard of care is a 3d or tomographic, mammogram tomography. And that's when instead of just taking one picture, the machine takes a series of 30 or so Picturehouse and 30 pictures down. When you actually physically have the mammogram, you can't tell the difference. Okay? It just makes it. So instead of looking at all the breast tissue through itself, you can you can slice through the breast tissue. So they're catching smaller masses, or it's easier to see changes. Mm hmm. have to look at all the breast tissue in one picture.

Shannon Earley:

Right. And so I was reading that that's generally what you would recommend for women that are under 40. because like you said, the breasts are so dense. Yeah. And there's, there's fibrocystic, or fibro, whatever.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

fibrocystic breast tissue is just kind of another term for dense breast tissue.

Shannon Earley:

Okay. Yeah. So this helps look through it more.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So I would say, across the board under age 50, and then over age 50, it's probably going to be moot because I think, in a year or two, that's all there we're gonna do is 3d mammogram, that'd be great. But for example, I'm 55 and my breast tissue, I don't think I really would benefit from a 3d mammogram. So as you get older, gets less dense, but there are lots of women who are older who with very dense breast tissue, and there's no reason not to do 3d.

Shannon Earley:

So I was surprised learning about breast cancer that it normally is older women. That really was surprising to me.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Oh, because you have friends who are younger.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, my guess like I see the women that are like I'm on a survivor walk or a breast cancer rock. And they all seem like they're in their 40s or something. Right? Like,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

yeah, so that the most common age is about 63. That's when it peaks

Shannon Earley:

that I would have never known. You could have blown me away.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Because when I started started treating people with breast cancer, I had just started one of my first patients was, we were kind of the same age, I think she was 33 or something. And I came home, I was kind of bummed. I was talking to my husband. And he said, Well, you can have to get over it. Because this is your job. She's so young. You know, I thought it was an old lady problem.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, I know. And also like, even though you're in the field, where I mean, it's possible to find breast cancer. Is it still surprising to you sometimes or

Dr. Polly Stephens:

surprising, but it's still me. You know, it's a little

Shannon Earley:

cutting.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, it's cutting.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, that's got to be hard. But also guys just see, you know, Dr. Stevens, she's the man. She's the lady for fine. I mean, any kind of news. She You're such like a straight talker. But you've also got this gentleness to you. And I told my husband I think that you have really dry humor. Like you're witty. And he was like, I hope you're not just laughing at jokes that aren't joke Shannon like.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, exactly.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But there's for me, I just felt like an immediate coziness. And I know that some women you know, rather go to a male doctor, but I've always been like, Lady only for the lady. But that's just that's just me. And actually your partner have it at the Virginia Breast Center is a male that started this with you.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Patients love him. Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Oh, yeah, they do.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. I mean, it's, uh, yeah, I think probably doesn't matter. Man or woman. It's the personality. We have a really good office from the front door back

Shannon Earley:

girl, the lady in the front. She's fantastic. She has that like gentle, sweet voice. And she'll do that thing when she polite laughs anybody even if they're not funny, but they're making it. She's just, I don't I can't even speak highly enough about her. I don't know her name, which shows me that I'm a terrible

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Tisha.

Shannon Earley:

Tisha! is amazeballs I love her. Like when she calls I'm like, Yes, I got that one. Like no, She's good. She's great. So okay, mammograms also guys just for you know, to know, they always talked about plates. And so in my imagination, it was almost gonna be like, Oh, those X ray like chalkboard style, like black plates with the silver silver around it. But when I went in, I was super surprised. It was like clear, like fiberglass or something. Yeah. That was dirty. Used to be black

Dr. Polly Stephens:

scriptures? No. It was always as far as I can remember.

Shannon Earley:

And when you ever you look at it like YouTube video about a mammogram, it shows the lady standing there, but it's not like showing the machine I feel like I don't know. I don't know what I was researching. But I was blown. I was like this is the machine couldn't believe it. Okay, so by the way of your mammogram, No, do not be afraid of your mammogram. And so I'm 34. And Dr. Stevens was a beast because I was like, hey, there's these lumps. And she's like, you know what, probably nothing. And I was like, but I want to get a mammogram. She's like, All right, I'll help you.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

So that thing is over age, even though there are lots of different recommendations over age 30. If you come in with a breast problem, insurance will pay enough. And usually we'll send you for a mammogram, under age 30, the breast tissue usually really dense, and then you just can't see anything. So we'll typically do ultrasound. Mm hmm.

Shannon Earley:

Well, and also I felt very, the more I would come to his office, I felt more and more comfortable that it's okay, if it's not cancer, but I'm still worried about whatever this could be, like, I felt like I was heard, which is so important when you're feeling anxious or stressed. And I also felt like I was cared for well, which is also important. So if you go somewhere and you don't feel that way, guys, I would suggest seeing if there's any other providers out there because it can be an OK process. So okay, speaking of plugs. This is so embarrassing, but Okay, so apparently, I had what I thought was a third nipple. didn't know what was the thing I didn't know was the thing. You said x sillery area earlier, and I was like, I'm bringing that up. Um, so women and men can have third nipples. For my understanding. It's a lot more rare to have, like, breast tissue with it. But it all grows on the milk line or something. I don't know. How can you explain it a little better? So this is gonna blow your mind guys

Dr. Polly Stephens:

basically anywhere from your armpit. maxilla the straight line to your nipple and then so anywhere along that line, and then if from your nipples, vertically straight down. Like you're doin Evam down.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, groin.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

But you so usually don't be on the breast or down at the just at the top of the abdomen.

Shannon Earley:

Yes. Extra nipples.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

accessory

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, accessory nipples. Yes. Um, my husband and I is whatever. Um, so we like sci fi fantasy movies and stuff. One of my favorite movies growing up as a kid was Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is a woman to three breasts in it. It's an alien. And I told my husband I've, I've hit my prime. I'm her now. So anyways, it was good. It was good. Um, so I actually did have that ultrasound and biopsied and stuff. And interestingly enough, my children I won't say which ones. I have four children. Three of those children have what looks to be to be an extra nipple. Like you said under the nipple. Oh, yeah. So it's almost like they have nipples little Indian. It's almost like a fleshy mole or something.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, cuz I guess you can sometimes you just see a little Yep,

Shannon Earley:

that's exactly do you think is that something people should normally get removed or just not working on? Is it bothersome? Yeah. And normally they don't grow into a boob. Right.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Right. So if they're girls may be when they go through puberty, it'll get a little bigger. But I haven't seen accessory boobs. I've only seen little tiny accessory nipples look usually look more like a mall.

Shannon Earley:

Dang. Okay, so I was reading about them when I was first, like, what could this be? And there's so many women online. Obviously, you can find anything online. True. But like the top post, I was finding release chicks that were like, I never knew I had a third boob. Until when I was breastfeeding. It started leaking. And I'm like, whaaaat?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So right. You can have some breast tissue there. And then

Shannon Earley:

yeah, and breast milk.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yep. can come out.

Shannon Earley:

That's bananas. So okay, breast milk. Next thing. One of the things that I had ultrasounded was called a galactical, galacta. Seal, go whack to seal. What is that?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

What is that?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Basically, when you're breastfeeding, milk can get stuck in a milk duct. And then it gets kind of coagulates and become solid. And usually over time, the body just reabsorbs it. But When's the last time you were breastfeeding?

Shannon Earley:

Um, January for that boob. So okay,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

so that makes sense. Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah. But it was really interesting. I think it was there for Is it possible that even while you breastfeed, it's there because I want to say it was there like way back since I had him.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So it couldn't happen from one of the other kids. Yes. And then maybe if we'd waited, you know, maybe he'd had your mammogram next year, it might have been gone. Mm hmm.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, that was crazy, guys. So I had like a milk milk milk popper that was, I think they got like, two cc's or four, I don't know. And my, I'm just gonna imagine it was a giant syringe. That's what I'm gonna imagine. So also, this is why Dr. Stevens is cool. And to get another biopsy. And when I get nervous, I talk a lot. And so I started talking about how like, oh, man, I love watching surgery shows in LA and she was like, do you want to watch what I'm doing? And I was like, Yes. And so it was really neat. because she'd be like, see right here. This is where the, the fleshy parcel attached and I was like, I'm not actually gonna. But they took out the little cyst or whatever it was, and I got to look at it. And they put it in the fluid. Yeah. And the nurse. Let me look at the fluid with the lumps in it, whatever. It was a great experience. And we Yeah, we just

Dr. Polly Stephens:

do all that little stuff in the office.

Shannon Earley:

Do women normally want to look?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Half and half?

Shannon Earley:

Really?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Have you ever had anybody pass out?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. Oh, usually people who pass out know they're gonna pass out.

Shannon Earley:

So they'll be like, I'm gonna pass out.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

happens. I'm really good with this. I might pass out. It's okay, cuz you're laying down. I love it. That'd be so embarrassing. You didn't pass out once. She was talking. Everything was fine. And all of a sudden, she just slid down. She didn't know she was gonna pass out. Were you guys doing surgery? We're just doing a biopsy or something. Oh, I love it.

Shannon Earley:

She was like, This isn't my field anymore, guys. Likethat's crazy. I mean, it can get a little. There's a lot of different tissues and like when you're going past the white part of the skin, and then it's like the pinkish things get crazy looking. And then on the surgery shows, there's like the yellow fat. I can't. Yeah. Right. Like, if it's right next to me. I don't know how it would be like, I can watch on the show and be like, I'm gonna eat my toast or whatever. But like in person, I think it's a little intense.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, I don't know. And this. I mean, these are just emotions she wasn't expecting.

Shannon Earley:

Did they teach you anything in school to help like, steal yourself? If you were feeling that way or No, no. Nope. You just I mean, I passed that once. No, you did Downey, in surgery? Oh, no.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I was a medical student. We were doing surgery on a young woman. It was a pilonidal cyst, which is on your backside. And so it's kind of up in the air,

Shannon Earley:

which is already a great beginning.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Local, so she was awake.

Shannon Earley:

Oh, gravy.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

And we were waiting for the resident to start surgery and the resident was late. I said, you know, how hard could it be to assist? I can assist you? I

Shannon Earley:

can I can assist with the cyst? Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So he was injecting the numbing medicine. And she was saying, Oh, she's, yeah, really uncomfortable. And then next thing I knew.

Shannon Earley:

Yes, it is. It is exactly like that. All of a sudden, you feel kind of like, Oh,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

yeah. It's gonna be fine. I'm expecting that. And just I think that empathy, which,

Shannon Earley:

yes. Oh, 100%. Yeah, I did that with my daughter. So I've got the four kids, my eldest had a lot of like, special needs as a baby. And at one point she had, so she had all these like apnea and heart monitors. apnea was the breathing and then the heart. Yeah, on or all the time. And so I was used to all those like beings and whatever. But one time, she got really sick. And I had to bring her to the ER, and they were like, We got to give her a catheter to get the pee or whatever. And she was like, maybe seven months old. And so they're holding her down to give her an IV first, which was already like, very difficult. My daughter has autism. We didn't know that at the time. And sensory issues. So even as a babe, she was like, you know, screw you guys like, it's not It wasn't easy. So her monitors are going crazy. You can't really do anything. No, no comfort. Exactly. And so I'm already like, who you know, it was already really difficult. Didn't realize they were doing the catheter yet. They had done the IV, but I'm like, you know who that was? Hard. I'm holding her. She's like, covered in sweat. And then like, I run into the catheter, and I was like, Okay, and then they start and she's just screaming and the nurses are kind of like yelling to hold her still. And I was like, oh, man, I feel kind of crazy. And the nurse looks at me and she was like, if you think you're gonna pass out, you need to leave. While I'm thinking as a mom, like, I'm not leaving my kid.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Nope.

Shannon Earley:

Uh, they plop it in there. My daughter screaming and then I was sitting next to her like on the bed and I go, like, right onto the bed. So Oh, the nurses hated me. They hated me so much, because I go, Oh, I think I'm gonna throw up and now and then I blew my head landed right on the bed next year. That's too much. Yeah, well the nurse already hated me. My gear and emotional mother Get out of here. She didn't tell me that. But in my head

Dr. Polly Stephens:

when I was a resident, I was doing pediatric rotation pediatric surgery. And they had a new policy where they would have the mothers bring the patients into the operating room. And the policy now I think in most places, the from the preoperative area, yes. The anesthesiologist, yeah, anesthetist or nurse picks up the child, are they in a wagon or something?

Shannon Earley:

You're totally 100%. Right. Yes

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So it was terrible. Because, you know, the parents were all emotional. The kid was emotional. And then the nurses were emotional, because most of them are mothers. Yes. Awful. I think. I love it. If you had your kid over, like, don't you know, here we go, honey, this person is going to take care of you, then the kids are kind of trusting and they go off and they do this.

Shannon Earley:

Yes, yes. Well, and also like, I now know, because of that, like my, I'll be like, can you please bring my daughter some happy potion things? And as soon as she's like, Hey, I'm like, she's ready. You know, as opposed to the screen? Like, that's just intense for everybody. Yeah. So what made you decide out of all the fields, because you went through how many years of school?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

So four years of college, four years of medical school and five years of general surgery,

Shannon Earley:

that's 13 years. And then did you have residency? Or is that can that was the residency? So you had 13 years old school? What made you decide breasts?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Well, this is not the question you're asking. But ah, but it's kind of interesting about my life, I want to hear is, after I finished college, I hadn't applied to. I hadn't. I was kind of in the process of applying to med school. I was looking for something to do. And my mother worked in international health. And so she had international health. Well, she had a colleague who ran a hospital in Liberia. Oh, cool. Okay. Um, so he, she worked for USA ID evaluating health programs that that the US was sponsoring, we're supporting financially. So this guy, Dr. Cole, amazing. He's a Liberian man. And he set up a hospital in the bush in Liberia. And his wife was an ophthalmologist. So she did cataract surgery, and he was pediatric trained, but he did everything, deliver babies and did little surgeries and everything is incredible. So I went to work in his hospital. And really, I was, I mean, he was very nice to me, but I probably I didn't know anything. I was very helpful. But there I was, and I'm in Liberia, in Liberia. And so then this is another offside irrelevant, but it's all relevant. My husband was in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. So we met and then we came back and got married. And in the interim, I had put in my applications and got into medical school. So when I went to medical school, I thought I was going to be a family practice, doctor. And then when I started doing my rotations as a third year, I thought, you know what, I better be a surgeon because what if I'm like Dr. Cole, the only thing I better at least know how to operate. So that's how I ended up as a surgeon. And then I always thought of myself as kind of a small town doctor. And general surgery is cool, because he kind of learned how to do everything. So that was my image of myself was kind of small town general surgeon. And then I got Dr. Quinn, medicine woman. Yeah, that kind of thing. Exactly. Then I got this job in Richmond with a big surgical group. And I was doing general surgery, but they I think they hired me because I was female. The guy who started the group, Dr. Casey doodle was kind of the the well known breast surgeon in town and I think they wanted a woman to do breast surgery. So I became busy doing breast surgery. Very, like, right when I started my right when I started practicing after residency, and then after seven years, so I was doing mostly like 80% breast surgery, 20% general surgery. Then I took my family to New Zealand. We practiced there for a year and I just did general surgery. And then when I came back, Dr. Powell cane, kind of got the Virginia Breast Center going so then I became a breast surgeon.

Shannon Earley:

That's amazing. The question I, first of all, yes, yes, but now I have more questions. Okay, did you know that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yes, because

Shannon Earley:

I would. You're like I was part of the guild.

Unknown:

Yeah, you're the Hobbit. Yeah.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I used to I could walk to work. And there's It was called the green belt. So there's a green basically trails around the whole city. We lived in Wellington, New Zealand. So, I was one time I was walking to work and some tourists had their GPS and they said, I said, Are you guys lost? And he said, No, we're looking for Lord of the Rings. Movie number one scene sick. Oh, I love it. So yeah, you could do a normal New Zealand tour. Anyway, so yes, I want to do that. 100% a great country, man.

Shannon Earley:

Whenever I'm feeling like fluish I love watching that movie. Because all those like scenes were just like, pans out and they're just walking in this greenery. And it's just so

Dr. Polly Stephens:

beautiful. So that's what how

Shannon Earley:

did you hike mountains with your husband there?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

And he doesn't. He doesn't really he's not a hiker.

Shannon Earley:

Did you Peace Corps. Did you make peace with your husband? They're

Dr. Polly Stephens:

so neat, though. That is so neat. Yeah, we didn't like a lot when we used to go up. It's called tramping. tramping without him.

Shannon Earley:

Did you ever see like myaree people or anything? Like Yeah,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

because that's just part of the population. So cool.

Shannon Earley:

And that's when you fell in love with. What's his face? The really handsome dude. Nice eyebrows. He's an eori.

Unknown:

No. I mean,

Shannon Earley:

did the haka dance. He's married to bone a Lisa Bonet. What is his name wise? He's so handsome. My husband knows he's my crush. This is awful. He did the haka dance.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. He wasn't the Hocus Pocus it it pops up. Yeah, always. I mean, you could go to a cricket game and they would start with a really good, you know, the elementary school play and they would start

Shannon Earley:

No, they didn't. It is so like fierce man toad. Jason momoa. Yes. Wicked handsome crush worthy. My sweet husband is like, there's this app where it's like search your face for historical paintings. And he's basically every white English person, like all of them match him. And then like me, they're always like Frida Kahlo, or Martin Luther King. Like, it just cannot get my face. Right. Anyway, sorry. I don't even know what made me think of that with the haka. Whatever. Anyways, so my point is my husband's wicked weight. And Jason momoa is not his tan, so that's okay. It's okay. Yeah, so Okay, so we were talking about we did mammograms go back to say, oh, third nipples.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So cancer, I guess we should talk a little bit about talk about It's awful. So I just did a talk last week, really? With who with the Fed? The Federal Reserve it was there one zoom meeting what yeah, it was, it was zoom. So I have no idea, dude, this chicks fancy. We're on there. It's just, it's just the local

Shannon Earley:

anyway, this is her day off. And this is what she does, apparently shows it weekly, just

Dr. Polly Stephens:

like to toss in the past. That's wonderful. And for probably five years or something.

Shannon Earley:

And then I came into her life, and I changed her world. Now this

Dr. Polly Stephens:

is great. So the first slide I put up, it shows the survival rate from breast cancer. And in the 70s, it was about 75%. And in the now, I think the last year they had was like 2008, and it was 90%. So I said, you know, the good thing about breast cancer is, most people who get breast cancer are going to be treated and cured.

Unknown:

And

Dr. Polly Stephens:

but then the next slide I showed is, you know, I don't want to undermine it, because people do die from breast cancer. So I don't want you to be listening to this. And yeah, fine. People get cured, but not my sister or whoever. So there is, I mean, there is that 10% of people who, and that was a five year survival rate was 90%. So people do die from breast cancer. That's,

Shannon Earley:

yeah. Well, and what's tough about breast cancer, like, I've definitely heard from cynical folks that are like, Well, why don't we have like colon cancer walks, or just that just one I'm like, thinking of like pancreatic cancer, you know, walks and people are like, you know, breast cancer is one of those things that's real easy to, like market, like the whole save the boobies thing and everything. And then because of that, those kinds of those kinds of things that people say, yeah, it's almost like it makes it seem like Oh, so is breast cancer, not a problem. It's like, no, it's definitely a problem. And if you knew anybody that actually had the diagnosis, it would be scary no matter what. Yeah, look at those odds, then You know, and be like it's nothing.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Right. And then I had another slide about early detection. And you know, there's this little slogan early detection is the best protection, which is sort of true. But sometimes people get their mammograms every year, and then we find cancer and it's just bad. And so, some, I think, most of the time when we intervene, we're making a difference. But there certainly are some breast cancers no matter what we do. They just don't end up well.

Shannon Earley:

Would that be something like, as a club like IBC, maybe or

Dr. Polly Stephens:

whatnot, inflammatory, that's the one which is in IBC is not common. So I'll see inflammatory breast cancer once or twice a

Shannon Earley:

year, when you're reading about breast cancer signs online. That is like the only one that is well explained, like the skin dimple like an orange. And it's like, there's no just normal stories. It's always people with like, the craziest thing when you're trying to like, you know, self diagnose,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

because most of them probably 75% are gonna get picked up on the mammogram.

Shannon Earley:

And so I was surprised to hear that some cancers are slow growing, I had no idea that some can take years and years before they even.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, so. So we talked about the nasty ones where you no matter when you find them, sometimes they just don't end up well. And then there's probably and that's probably five or 10%,

Shannon Earley:

what are normally like the symptoms or signs of those are those generally fast growing lumps are

Dr. Polly Stephens:

on mammogram. And then there's some that probably we could just leave alone. And they would they grow slowly. They may never ever cause any problems.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, but if you were to be like, you have a slow growing cancer, like a room, my entire chest cavity. Thank you. There's a good chance you'll be fine. Yeah, well, actually one of the things you guys did with me after my mammogram, you did the biopsy and everything and then you put something in called a marker. I've never heard of that in my life.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So the clips are. So if you can, if you were unlucky, and the biopsy we did turn out to be cancer, then sometimes we treat with chemotherapy, before surgery. And sometimes chemotherapy is so good that it gets rid of the lump so we can't see it anymore or feel it. Oh, the only indication we know is what's left. billion occasion we know where it was is from that little

Shannon Earley:

clip. Interesting.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

And pink. I just saw Hummingbird. I just took my hummingbird feeder.

Shannon Earley:

No, they're gonna start. They start pecking you. I mean,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Every time I see one, I'm always like, is that a bee at first and you're like, Well, no, no, it's not. Yes. Oh, I feel like it actually ran right behind that brown birdhouse.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, they tend to.

Unknown:

Um, okay, I guess we're done.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, screw cancer. Okay. If I were to what if a woman feels like something's wrong? And maybe her general practitioner somebody doesn't agree or she just, I guess what if she feels like there's something wrong? Is it okay for her to push?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah. So, um, and I would say a lot of ob gyn send patients to me. They, they're pretty sure everything's fine. They tell the patient You know, this feels like a cyst or this, you know, breast pain. That's a good topic. It is really rare that we find cancer when someone comes in with breast pain, but people are going to be listening. My friend had breast pain. Yeah, just to be cancer.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, my friend had breast cancer in her ankle.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

So, um, the so Bellson? I mean, you don't? I would say with most primary care doctors, you don't even have to push that hard. If you just say, I just feel kind of uncomfortable. They'll say, go see the breast surgeon. Great. Yeah, we have ultrasound in our office. Yeah, and ultrasound and reassure you that everything looks fine. If we're still not quite sure, we'll send you for a mammogram. But it's, it's easy to do. And so it seems to me that most doctors have a pretty low threshold to refer on good well, and I was thankful. Yes, then you can just pick up the Yellow Pages.

Shannon Earley:

Be like I definitely remember the Yellow Pages. I don't know. I anyways, yeah. So okay, um, yeah, we were talking about, oh, one thing I really liked about going to you guys, which I didn't even expect was when I went into the room, like the ultrasound machine and everything was right there already kind of like if you needed it, and I loved other it wasn't like an inconvenience. It didn't Make me feel like I was inconveniencing y'all. We didn't have to. We don't have to send

Dr. Polly Stephens:

you anywhere to get

Shannon Earley:

Yes. I didn't have to come back another time. Like I have four kids.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I can't afford to do it. I have to do it right there. Yes, I would. I don't know if when I first when we started the breast Breast Center, we were the only dedicated breast surgeons in town. But there are more now, but I don't know if they all work the same way we do. But I think that's a huge advantage to our practice. I mean, I think that's the main value to the practices that we have the ultrasound there. So you come in, things don't feel right. We do an ultrasound. If it's a cyst, we can drain it. If it looks, if it's solid, we can do a biopsy. If it's pain, we can reassure you that everything looks good there. So ultrasound is it's amazing. It's I wish I'd invented it. Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah. And actually they did all those things. They drained assist and did biopsies and send me for mammograms because I have the bumpiest breast in America. So that was good. I know. Yeah, maybe they'll be chill. Who knows? I hope hopefully, I'll have money for implants. And a tummy tuck. It'll be great.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

You see me?

Shannon Earley:

You see me have no idea who I am. I'm like, hey, like my lip, sir. Anyways, I'm talking I would know. Yeah, that's right. You're like, Oh, wait, I know what that is. Yeah, I know. I've been cooped up and I colored my hair red. And then like, every morning, I wake up, I regret that. I

Unknown:

hate it so

Shannon Earley:

much. That's okay. I just gotta wait a couple more days. And I'm a hairstylist, so I did it to myself. So I know I have to wait. Yeah, but I gotta wait. Because first I had to bleach it really bright for the pink on the end. Whatever. Whatever. It's fine.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, he did it for breast cancer awareness.

Shannon Earley:

Yes. I went Garnet red on my roots. Yeah, no buttons are pink though. The ends are pink. Yeah, I tried to do an ombre.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

And I was ready. Like, no. Yeah. You blind

Shannon Earley:

ass. Go see my ophthalmologist? Yeah, okay. If there was anybody listening any ladies that were maybe like, you know, I'm, I'm unsure about whether or not to go to the doctor. What would you say? Just go? Yeah.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Especially under 40. Where we're not doing screening mammograms. Then come on in. Yeah,

Shannon Earley:

I totally agree. Guys. Just go. It's gonna be fine. And I think you guys see lots of people that don't actually have anything wrong. Yeah. It's not like when they leave, you're like, oh, what an idiot. Like it's normal.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

That's what we do. Yes, yes. So just so you know what bad things and good things? Yes,

Shannon Earley:

I would love to hear that. So

Dr. Polly Stephens:

pain, a lot of people come in with pain. It's rarely, if you have pain, and you don't feel a lump, it's really unlikely to be broken. It's not

Shannon Earley:

like a muscle strain or something like that.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, it's costochondritis inflammation of the lining of the rib, or pulled muscle or something. And then non cancerous things. So Express cysts are really common assist is just pocket of fluid in the breast. And all women get them and you can get them from puberty to menopause. And that should feel can feel like a ball in your breath like a Super Ball. So a little bit can be a little bit spongy feeling but it should roll around like when you feel it should feel like it's sliding around underneath your fingers. And there are solid lumps of calm tumors, but tumor doesn't

Shannon Earley:

really mean kids that like a fibroid and no matter what exactly, yeah. So

Dr. Polly Stephens:

under age 25, the most common lump that women or girls will find is a fibroid, Noma, which feels very round and mobile, slippery. And they feel just like cysts. So under 25 most likely if I were unknown, 25 to 50 most likely assist. And then cancer feels irregular, very hard. And it's fixed. It's stuck in one place. And usually we'll dimple the skin and it's very subtle, a little, very subtle little dimple. So

Shannon Earley:

I've had the cyst in the fibroid, a nova for years.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

He couldn't feel like

Shannon Earley:

I couldn't Yeah, I did. I felt a lump on one and that's the first ever biopsy that you did. And then yeah, on the mammogram, they found one I didn't even know that I had that was the one that we were like, What's that one that we put a marker in? So yeah, mammograms findings. Um, and one of them was like a sebaceous cyst, which is so embarrassing, but what else are you gonna do? Um, don't even I was gonna say, actually anymore. We were

Dr. Polly Stephens:

talking about how things feel

Shannon Earley:

how they feel.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, so so

Shannon Earley:

mine definitely felt round. Yeah. One of it like the vibrator, Noma to me didn't feel as mobile as the 61. Like the 61 was definitely to me Felt slippery or I guess, yeah, so you're saying that like with cancer, generally, it's gonna feel like strikingly more different than what I felt maybe before. Yeah,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

but a lot of it has to do with how close it is to the skin. So if you have a cyst right underneath the skin, it's gonna feel very mobile. But if it's really deep in the breast, you know, it's gonna be harder to feel. Mm hmm. So you need a mammogram every now and then something feels not like cancer and turns out to be cancer or vice versa. So, if you feel anything, if you feel something that's definitely there and not going away, that is a good indication to go get an ultrasound, you see

Shannon Earley:

something, say something girls,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

okay, and there are two ways to get an ultrasound tell them. One is, you know, if you tell your ob gyn, she may send you to a breast surgeon and have the ultrasound done right there in the office. Or she may send you to get a mammogram and an ultrasound by the radiologist. And both Yeah, fine,

Shannon Earley:

which I had the mammogram at a different place. It was at St. Mary's Hospital, I guess. And before I went in, I was like taking all these cute, silly pictures of me in the robe. And I did a pose like, move on. And I was like, yeah, you know. And I will say, it was very confusing when I had seen other women getting dressed or anything. And then they were like, hey, the doctor has been talking to you in this room while you're getting dressed or whatever, just to save time or something. And I'm like, let's kind of odd. And they bring me into the other room. And it's a friggin dark room with an ultrasound table. And I was like, uh, like,

Unknown:

we're not we're having a no, no,

Shannon Earley:

no, they after the mammogram. I think she felt uncomfortable. Like, the tech. Yeah, I can't explain it. But at first she was all like rapid talking, being silly with me. Yeah, comes back in after the doctor. I guess she had to go out while I was waiting. And she's like, hey, the doctor wants me to take one more view. Like my armpit. They were squishing it. Yeah. And then she was like, Okay, great. We got that. Okay, great. Hey, and then that's when she's like, come just want us to pick up your clothes and come get dressed in here. So the doctor can talk to you did not say we're gonna go get a further ultrasound, nothing. And so when I walked into the dark room, I was like, What the f? Like, I was like, I guess this is what we're doing. You know, when like, then I felt bad that I in my head. I thought she was feeling uncomfortable. So I could try to make her feel good.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

That reminds me, there are two types of day. mammograms. One is a screening. And that's two pictures. You know, each two views of each breast. And so if every year when you go in for your mammogram, you don't even need a prescription, you can just call and schedule this yourself with your insurance will pay for it. And you get a screening mammogram and it's just that those two quick pictures of each side and that's to so that's the screening mammogram. And then a diagnostic mammogram is if they see something or if you feel something so if you say you know what i if you feel a lump and you don't come to see a breast surgeon but you go to see the radiologist, they're going to do a diagnostic mammogram. So they're going to do the mammogram, the radiologists is going to be there and read it right away. And then if they don't like the way that looks they'll have you come back. They'll do more pictures. They can do different magnification views on the mammogram. And for they'll send you they'll do the ultrasound. Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

Well and also so yes. So people listening, you're not always going to immediately get the results from a doctor to speak with you. Right right afterwards. That's

Dr. Polly Stephens:

not eating program. You go and they send you a letter.

Shannon Earley:

Well, I will say what was neat is everything was happening real fast. And then the doctor I was like, Oh, so he was like you need to follow up with with Dr. Stevens and we need to set you up for he was like, we can set you up for a biopsy or surgery here. I don't know. It was just going really quick. And I was like, Yeah, that sounds good. I do want to speak with her something and he was like, my, the front desk is already making an appointment for you. And so that all was very kind of scary to me. Like how fast things are moving. That made me feel very weird. I got dressed. And I left and Dr. Stevens called me before I even unlocked my car door.

Unknown:

Oh.

Shannon Earley:

She's really great. She caught myself in there.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I know. But like, I mean, I was expecting the mailroom to be normal.

Shannon Earley:

I know. But yeah, well, but it made me feel very, like confident and comfortable. Because she called me right away and was like, Hey, I saw this. Like basically. Like it's 90, you know, good jillion percent chance it's nothing You know, I've seen this little she was like, you know, I can't promise I'm just saying from what I think I really don't think it is anything to be worried about. Which made me feel really really good because just I need seen as somebody to kind of be like, I guess like calm and just straightforward and I can't even Blame it. Even if it was cancer, I just needed that like,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Yeah, well, this is another good point. If most of the time on the mammogram, most of the time, we can tell just from looking at it if it's cancer or not cancer. So if a radiologist comes out and tell says, I don't think this is cancer, or this probably isn't cancer, they really mean it. You don't have to double guess what they're trying to say. I mean, they're gonna say, we should do a biopsy to make sure it's not cancer. But if they go out, if they keep going and say, I think this is gonna turn out, okay. They really mean it.

Shannon Earley:

Right? That is a good point. Because they are very like, what is it like loose lips sink ships, they are very tight lipped because you know, whatever. So good is there. So before we get into the fun round graph to ask you three rapid fire questions. Okay, sorry. Is there anything that you Is there any, like parting words or advice or can use the platform for anything? No, I

Dr. Polly Stephens:

think Don't be afraid of breast cancer. I feel like we're really good at treating it. It's a big pain in the neck. And most people do well. So dive in.

Shannon Earley:

That's great. That's excellent. Excellent. Okay, good. Hey, friends, before we get into rapid fire round, I really want to remind you that sharing this is a really big help. For me, honestly, every time you share this, somebody new starts to listen, which means my audience is growing, which means I still want to put out more content. And remember, you can always send me any suggestions at nesting with the early [email protected] And remember, you can find us on nesting with the early birds.buzzsprout.com. And you can check out all of the episodes that we already have lined up right there. Thanks so much. And get ready for rapid fire round. Alright guys, so this is my favorite part of the show. I don't know I just like it. It's dumb. So everybody that I've had so far, has had to pick three different questions. numbers one through 200 Oh, that's a lot of fun. I know. Rapid Fire answers. So don't think about it too long. The question Can the answer can be long. Just don't think about it too long. So first question one through 242. Oh, okay. Girl knew it. You knew it. If you could paint anything. What would you paint? Oh.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Oh, that's a tough one. Maybe we're just paint this. Yes. With the hummingbird. Oh,

Shannon Earley:

yeah. This is so pretty. This isn't the James River. Right? This is like the lake lake. Is this just in Lake Lake Salisbury. This is it's really small. I mean, you can see the Amstetten that doesn't matter. And if you walk down there, you can see the other end. Well, did you know in mental wards that the most calming things are water and the color green? Boom, there you go. No. No, it's awesome. Okay, second question. Pick one through 290. Calm, dude, nobody's done. nobody's done the same one yet. Okay. If you could change one thing about your looks, what would it be?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

That's a good question. I don't really care how I look. I mean, come

Shannon Earley:

on. Let's go get let's get boob jobs. So I know

Dr. Polly Stephens:

what I would do. I would have really curly hair.

Shannon Earley:

Your hair is super wavy already

Dr. Polly Stephens:

really curly like African American hair.

Shannon Earley:

I'm gonna teach you how to do it. I'm not a girl. I'm gonna send you I'm gonna send you a thing. Get ready. Okay, last one. Would you want it big? Would you want it like high

Dr. Polly Stephens:

or like wide? Or like, I think I probably long like short. Afro style. You know, you

Unknown:

know, you read it.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

What color would you pick? You know, just like African American hair. That's what I

Shannon Earley:

like, would you rate it with a look

Dr. Polly Stephens:

proper on my head, but I just

Shannon Earley:

do you mean like a beautiful Afro like with the hoop earrings and everything. Like, do you mean like you could still braid it into twists?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I guess long enough to bring it into little tiny twists but

Shannon Earley:

short. You know what? It's so cute. My the same little brother I just talked to you about used to cry that he couldn't have African American hair because his best friend had black skin and black hair. And my brother would say because when I sweat my bangs get all in my eyes when he sweats it goes down the sides. See? You never notice. Yeah, maybe you want it for sweat rejection and a little poofy. But suck. Yeah. All right. Last question.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Oh, these numbers are so hard.

Shannon Earley:

I know it cuz everybody is like me. It stresses everybody out. Do you have any pets?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

No. Oh, hummingbirds.

Shannon Earley:

Oh, we hummingbirds. You have even a cat? No. Why is it cuz you're a world traveler?

Dr. Polly Stephens:

No. No, we just don't have pets. We just have. They are a lot of flippin work. We put birdseed out and we have a lot of birds.

Shannon Earley:

Sounds sweet. Dude, actually, my parents are super into it. And I have this really cool. Well, I told you, I really like vintage things. And I made friends with an old lady who you see my client. And she ended up giving me all these awesome, like, books and magazines. But I'm telling you so like, I have the coronation edition of like Queen Elizabeth getting married with all the ROI is I just love it. And anyway, so one of the books she gave me is from 1917. And it's the like the bird watchers guide of North America. I love it and you open it up and it's all these like pen and ink sketches of the birds and yeah, any Whoa, forget it. Anyways,

Dr. Polly Stephens:

I if I were alone if I didn't have my husband? Mm, then I would get a dog.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, you gotta have somebody sleep with you at night. It's at night when you're like, oh, there's a robber. No, it's not all night. Well, thank you for having Nope, I was gonna say thank you for having me here.

Dr. Polly Stephens:

Thanks for coming on. I appreciate anyway.

Shannon Earley:

All right. Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much for coming. I had such a great time speaking with Dr. Stevens. You guys have no idea what an awesome and sacrificial lady this person is for her to take her free time and spend time to still

Unknown:

educate people

Shannon Earley:

about breast health. You guys, that's really awesome. If you ever are in the Virginia area, and you are looking for an excellent breast doctor team. Please make sure you guys check out for jinya Breast Center. You can call them if you wanted to schedule an appointment or get more information at 804-594-3130 or check them out at the a breast center.com you guys I had such a great time. Thank you so much for listening. And remember to please share this with anybody that would maybe like to hear some more information from a breast surgeon more information about breast health. And to help you guys remember, check out your boobies, get those mammograms, super important. Super, super easy. Thank you so much. I'll see you next time.