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by HIS Breast Cancer Awareness

My 10 Year Survivor Story

By Barry Cogan

On the Wednesday before Labor Day 2011, I asked my wife (Sandy) to look at my left breast and in particular my left nipple. Our grandchildren Sam (14) and Mimi (12) were headed back to Israel.

I didn’t want my itchy nipple/breast condition to bother both grandchildren. Sandy said she thought that I should go and see our Dermatologist, Frank Kern.

The next day (Thursday) I saw Dr. Kern here on Brigantine Island. Dr. Kern told me this was not a dermatologist situation and that I should schedule a Mammogram ASAP.

I contacted Atlantic Imaging (AI) in Somers Point, NJ. I was successful in getting the first appointment on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend. Since the appointment was for 7:00AM, I told my wife that it was not necessary for her to go to the AI meeting with me. FIRST ERROR.

It is about a 30-minute drive from Brigantine to Somers Point.

I was the first patient and Nicole took me into the office where the Mammography machine was housed. I know why women complain about taking a mammography. The apparatus is unforgiving and when Nicole shoved my left breast into the machine, I really felt the pain.

I got through the procedure and then it was a problem of where to seat me as the room was filled with women. AI was sensitive to a potential problem.

After getting dressed, I waited in the large waiting room. It seemed that it was a very long time, but it was no more than 5 or 10 minutes. Dr. Peggy came to get me, and we went into her office. Dr. Peggy told me there were some things going on and that I needed a Biopsy ASAP. I told Dr. Peggy that I was completely comfortable with her doing the Biopsy.

Dr. Peggy then told me “Medicare will NOT authorize a Biopsy on the same day that a mammogram was performed."


At that point, I believe I was only processing about 50% of what Dr. Peggy was telling me. Very fortunately for me there was a Patient Navigator (Sharon P.). Sharon calmed me down and gave me her business card and said, “I know you only heard 50% of what Dr. Peggy was telling you, so I want you to go home and have your wife call me”.

I drove the 30 minutes back to Brigantine, thinking “I have Breast Cancer and what now?” When I walked into the Condo, Sandy took one look at me said “what is the matter, you are white as a sheet?” I told her I believe I have Breast Cancer and gave Sharon’s business card and told Sandy to call Sharon.

Sandy immediately called Sharon and was on the phone for about 15 or 20 minutes. She hung up the phone and looked at me and said “You have Breast Cancer, and I am going to call Sandy Moss, Barbara Dragon, and Nancy Zucker. Sandy was looking for a Breast Surgeon recommendation.