Specialty: Diagnostic radiology
Title: Diagnostic Radiologist
When Dr. Rand Stack thinks back on three decades caring for the people of Westchester County, a mother and daughter with an incredible story come to mind. Now a board-certified radiologist working at Westmed Medical Group, Stack first met the daughter, a vivacious 34-year-old set to be married within months, after a gynecologist detected a lump in her breast.
Stack assessed an ultrasound and called for a needle biopsy, which proved the lump to be malignant. “The young woman put her wedding on hold to undergo a lumpectomy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy,” shares Stack. “The would-be bride kept her sense of humor, maintained her positive attitude, and made a full recovery. The wedding was rescheduled to take place one year after the originally scheduled date. As the wedding date approached, the mother of the bride came to me for a routine mammogram.”
Like her daughter, a suspicious lump was found and a biopsy proved it to be breast cancer. “The mother of the bride vowed that she would not allow her own diagnosis to cast any shadow over her daughter’s long-awaited wedding,” recalls Stack. “She kept both the diagnosis and treatment secret from everyone, except her husband and sister.” The mother then scheduled a lumpectomy to take place while her daughter was on her honeymoon, secretly making daily trips to the hospital for radiation treatments.
“The mother’s very highest priority was providing her daughter with the wedding day she had dreamed of throughout the long year of cancer treatment,” recalls Stack. “She was determined to be a gracious hostess at the wedding, to be strong, and to hide from everyone any sign of concern about her own health.”
According to Stack, the bride did not discover what had happened to her mother until many months later. “Now more than 10 years have passed, and I continue to see the bride and her mother once a year, when they come for their annual mammograms,” notes Stack. “Both women are cancer-free, and they proudly bring me up to date on the accomplishments of the former bride’s growing children.”
“The most rewarding part of my position at Westmed is spending time speaking with patients.”
For Stack, who deals with patients on the brink of some of the worst possible diagnoses, forming strong bonds is paramount to fomenting a comfortable atmosphere. “It is not surprising that many women feel anxious when they go for a mammogram. It is therefore my goal to meet with every patient following her mammogram to explain her results to her in person and answer her questions,” says Stack. “The most rewarding part of my position at Westmed is spending time speaking with patients. In most radiology practices, radiologists do not have an opportunity to interact with patients at all.”
To amplify his involvement, Stack serves as a member of two national committees dedicated to promoting patient-centered care in the practice of radiology: the Patient Care and Delivery Task Force of the Society of Breast Imaging and the Outreach Committee of the American College of Radiology Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care.
When he is not tending to generations of patients, Stack spends ample time helping an entirely different audience, through his writing. “The latest development in my career has been the publication of my first book, The Breast Health Checklist: Simple Checklists to Keep You Organized, Informed & In Control,” he says. “The book is a practical resource for women who have breast symptoms, who need a breast biopsy, or who are diagnosed with breast cancer.”
The back of the book even contains blank forms to record a patient’s history of mammograms and breast health. “As a practicing physician, I speak to about two dozen patients each day,” says Stack. “It is my hope that my book will to be able to reach many more women than I am able to care for in person.”