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Eastside employee shares own experience with breast cancer with patients

Paulette Zinkann, the cancer program coordinator for Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, poses for a photo with a Prayer Bear and a wreath inside the hospital’s breast diagnostic center. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

Paulette Zinkann, the cancer program coordinator for Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, poses for a photo with a Prayer Bear and a wreath inside the hospital’s breast diagnostic center. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

Paulette Zinkann works with data on cancer, but that’s not the only aspect of her job at Eastside Medical Center in Snellville.

Working with patients is also part of her position as cancer program coordinator.

“If for some reason you’re diagnosed with breast cancer and you’re here at the hospital, I’ll be the one to come and visit you and bring you a (Prayer) bear and talk with you and tell you that it’s really OK,” Zinkann, a breast cancer survivor herself, said. “I do a lot more than just data.”

But data is still an important aspect of her job as cancer registrar. Zinkann was installed last week as president of the Georgia Tumor Registrars Association.

“I collect all data on patients that are diagnosed or treated here at the hospital and I work with physicians on special studies that we have as far as the patients go.”

The 58-year-old Lilburn resident has worked at Eastside for 18 years helping to guide patients through the trying process of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. One of the most tangible things Zinkann gives patients are Prayer Bears, handmade bears sewn by volunteers with Cannon Church’s cancer ministry. In addition, she shares her own experiences, having survived breast cancer in the mid-90s and thyroid cancer in the late 2000s.

“I can at least give my experience to patients that are frightened,” Zinkann said. “I can sit there and I can understand what they’re going through.”