Sonia Byrd is one tough lady.
Less than a year after a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, the mother of two and marketing professional competed in her first bodybuilding competition, earning second place.
She trained for the event at the encouragement of her friends and physicians, who were amazed at how well she looked throughout her treatment.
Convenient access to the Regional Care Center in Sugar Land helped Byrd juggle family, career, her breast cancer battle and a rigorous training schedule. It’s one of the four regional centers in suburban Houston providing almost 14,000 people with MD Anderson-quality care close to where they live and work.
In Fiscal Year 2013, 29% more patients sought care at one of these centers than the year before. And about 10% of all new patients began their relationship with MD Anderson through the regional system, which also has locations in Katy, The Woodlands and the Bay Area.
From specialized surgery to chemotherapy and radiation, most community-based patients such as Byrd can receive their full treatment from MD Anderson fellowship-trained physicians. Services such as pain management, counseling and dietitians are available, as well as support groups to help with the emotional toll of the disease. Community patients also now have access to clinical trials, allowing them to benefit more fully from, and contribute to, MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer.
As more people choose to work throughout their treatments, the regional centers are likely to continue to grow in popularity among those who want MD Anderson care but also want to stay close to home — or perhaps close to the neighborhood gym.