Miles City Woman Faces Breast Cancer Treatment with Support of Family and Caregivers
When Selina Burch felt a lump in her breast, the memories of her mother’s battle with breast cancer came flooding back to her. It was November 2022 when she arrived at Holy Rosary Healthcare for her first diagnostic mammogram. The initial diagnostic testing and biopsy confirmed her worries.
Almost a year later, Selina is still battling breast cancer while continuing her chemotherapy treatments at Holy Rosary in consultation with the St. Vincent Cancer Centers of Montana in Billings. Selina is grateful for her family, co-workers, and caregivers who have supported her every step of the way and allowed her to live life as normal as possible as she continues to undergo treatment.
Despite a yearlong treatment plan, Selina decided she didn’t want her year to be “all about cancer.” She began chemotherapy treatments at the beginning of 2023 and underwent a double mastectomy surgery in May, followed by five weeks of radiation. Although she will continue chemotherapy through the beginning of next year, she is “feeling great.”
“My husband and my kids have really supported me,” said Selina. “My mom still lives in Geraldine. I called her when this all began, and the prayer chain started right away.”
She attributes her strength and positive attitude to the encouragement she has received and her faith.
“When I could, I wanted to go to work and wanted to come home and cook dinner,” she shared. “Maintaining those normal routines was really important for me to not just wallow in the worry.”
“Selina has met cancer treatment head-on with a positive attitude and a strong will,” shared Stephanie Thomason, Holy Rosary Healthcare Outpatient Infusion Nurse. “She continued to work throughout her entire chemotherapy, barely missing any days except for treatment days. She is a very courageous woman.”
While she has received all of her chemotherapy treatments locally at Holy Rosary, she did need to travel to Billings for her radiation treatments at the St. Vincent Cancer Center. She connected with her oncologist for in-person appointments in Miles City and through telemedicine.
“The team is really awesome. Everybody has been so supportive, from doctors, surgeons, nurses, and techs. It could be a lot worse if I didn’t have such great people supporting me,” Selina shared.
During her treatment, Selina was excited to learn that Holy Rosary will open a new comprehensive Cancer Center in Miles City in late 2024. The 12,000-square-foot center will provide radiation, medical, and surgical oncology services to address the needs of cancer patients in rural Eastern Montana. The center will eliminate distance and access barriers to care for the people living in the region.
For women like Selina, not having to travel long-distance for treatment allows for fewer disruptions and financial burdens as they receive treatment, heal, and recover.
“It’s going to be great. I am so happy for our Miles City community and our surrounding areas to have their care closer to home,” she said.
“Being close to home and having the support of family makes the cancer journey much more tolerable,” added Thomason. “Our mission is to help guide patients through their cancer journeys and remove barriers to treatment and care. We are very excited about our new Cancer Center and offering radiation therapy to serve Miles City and the surrounding communities.”
Although she still has several months of treatment remaining, Selina sees the light at the end of the tunnel and has advice for women facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
“Don’t be afraid to tell those around you what you need,” she said. “When you are with your family or sitting in the chemo chair, ask questions of your loved ones and caregivers and tell them how you are doing. Talk to everyone you can to get the support to help you through it.”