Radiologic technologist: Breast cancer advocate from the inside out

When she received her own diagnosis of breast cancer, Stephanie Busselberg saw her job as a radiologic technologist in a different light.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes

At first she didn’t want to make it public.

Stephanie Busselberg, 45 was diagnosed with Stage One breast cancer on May 29. It was the start of summer vacation and she was determined that her life wouldn’t change. Married 14 years to Jeff Busselberg, the couple has three children ages 17, 20 and 22.

“My advice to other women would be ‘your attitude can change who you are,’” said Busselberg. “People would say to me ‘you’re doing so well with it.’ That’s because the first thing I told my kids is ‘this won’t change our summer plans. We aren’t doing anything different.’ I was determined not to mope at home or work.” And so the family enjoyed a summer filled with Cubs games, backyard pool parties, cook outs and boating.

Under the care of oncologist/hematologist Dr. Hillary Wu, surgeon Dr. Kandice Ludwig, and radiation oncologist Dr. Naoyuki G. Saito, Busselberg had a lumpectomy in July followed by 20 rounds of radiation.

Even though her family members and coworkers knew about Busselberg’s diagnosis, she made the decision to keep it private until she completed her final treatment.

“When I finished my radiation therapy I rang bell signaling the end of treatment. That was October 1 and I decided since it was the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I should speak out,” said Busselberg. Her role with IU Health was also a big influencer. For seven years she has worked as a radiologic technologist – starting part time at Riley Hospital; then working at Methodist Hospital and more recently IU Health Saxony.

“The main thing people should know is breast cancer can be detected through a mammogram,” said Busselberg. “Mine was so small and at such an early stage that it couldn’t be felt. Technology is advanced and the mammogram caught it. I felt if just one person got a mammogram after reading about my diagnosis on Facebook then it was worth it to make it public. I know of at least three so far,” said Busselberg.

“Going through this has made me think twice – looking at someone you don’t know what they are going through. I don’t look sick. I never lost my hair. I have no scars, I wasn’t even sick, but I had breast cancer.”