Mercy's Dr. Sandy Kotiah, Medical Oncology/Hematology, Discusses Cancer Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

August 03, 2015


If you notice something different about your body, get it checked out.

It sounds obvious, but doctors say sometimes those things patients dismiss can be the sign of something more serious. Your body has a way of telling you something is wrong, and it's important to pay attention, doctors say.

Amber Herauf knows this all too well. She said it's hard to believe what she has been through over the past year.

"I had found a lump that was covering the whole left side of the breast," she said. "The doctor said it's dense tissue and it was very common for a woman of my age."

Herauf, 26, had an ultrasound and doctors told her not to worry. Still, months went by and more symptoms began developing.

"I had to go get another opinion because I felt that was not the right opinion and I knew something was wrong," Herauf said.

It turned out Herauf had Stage 2 breast cancer.

"It was horrible," she said. "Everything was on mute. If it's breast cancer, it's not going to go away. It's going to steadily get worse."

According to  Dr. Sandy Kotiah, Medical Oncology and Hematology, in a case like Herauf's, getting the right imaging is crucial. Dr. Kotiah encourages all patients not to ignore any persistent and progressive symptoms.

"If it's something new that didn't belong there before, whether it's on your skin, whether it's a bump you feel, a mass in your breast, something that's not going away then you should get that checked out," said Dr. Kotiah, who is Director of The Neuroendocrine Tumor Center at Mercy.

After a year of fighting cancer, Herauf is having her last treatment just in time to celebrate her son's third birthday.



About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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