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    Julie's story about beating breast cancer

    When Julie Alvarez found out she needed surgery for a ruptured disk in her back, she immediately followed up with her physician for a routine physical to be cleared for the procedure.

    Because her physician was on leave, Julie scheduled an appointment with Barbara Renwick, M.D., of Sutter Medical Foundation. Within a week, Dr. Renwick had ordered a series of tests, including blood work and a chest X-ray. While ordering the tests through Sutter Health’s electronic health record (EHR), a special “alert” also informed Dr. Renwick that Alvarez was due for her first mammogram.

    “I wasn’t expecting to get a mammogram, but because I just turned 40, I thought it would be great to get all of the tests done at one time, in one location,” who lives in Woodland with her two kids and husband. “I was very focused on preparing for my back surgery . . . until I had my mammogram.”

    “The technician kept taking pictures,” added Julie. “Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, at least not in the last four generations, so I thought there’s no way something could be wrong. But I knew something was wrong by the time I left.”

    A biopsy later confirmed that Julie had stage 1 breast cancer. “I immediately changed my focus of having back surgery to becoming a breast cancer survivor,” says Julie.

    Today, after undergoing a series of operations and chemotherapy, Julie is cancer-free. She also had back surgery and is on the road to recovery.

    “Dr. Renwick and Sutter’s electronic health record saved my life,” says Julie. “If I had waited any longer to get a mammogram, then the diagnosis could have been much different.”

    “I’m Julie Alvarez, and that’s my story.”