Liz Sotelo was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks before Christmas in 2016. Although the cancer was found early — as ductal carcinoma in situ, or stage 0 cancer — doctors had to completely remove the breast because of excessive calcification.
“Once you hear the word ‘cancer,’ people freak out,” Sotelo says. “My doctors were very straightforward and honest with me from the beginning, and that was very reassuring.”
One of Sotelo’s doctors was Dr. Hector Salazar Reyes, a plastic surgeon affiliated with the Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. He took the time to help her understand all of her options.
“It’s important that the surgeon sits down and spends a good amount of quality time with the patient,” says Dr. Salazar Reyes. “We are going to have a long conversation that will include every single different option that they can have for the breast reconstruction.”
That investment of time and the presentation of all options helped Sotelo feel good about her treatment plan, and helped her develop a strong bond with Dr. Salazar Reyes.
“I didn’t just see him like a doctor, I felt like he was a family friend,” she says. “That was the level of trust.”
Watch the video above to hear more from Sotelo and Dr. Salazar Reyes.
To learn more about customized cancer treatments at Sharp or to find an oncologist, visit our cancer care page.