A Comprehensive Breast Center
by John F. Nelson, M.D.
Woman. She is our mother, wife, grandmother, sister, daughter and friend. She
cares for us, nurtures us and comforts us. She is special in her being, delicate
yet powerful. The women in our lives are precious and are at the center of what
we do. She also has a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. However, she
has a greater chance than ever before of being cured with early detection and
The diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with breast cancer present unique challenges and often require a multimodality approach. Healthcare providers around the world are responding and teaming together to form comprehensive breast centers, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with breast cancers as well as support and education of patients and their families.
The heart of the comprehensive breast center is dedicated to the detection of breast cancer. Screening and diagnostic mammography, dedicated breast ultrasound and MRI are tools used to look for breast cancer and often detect findings before they are evident to the patient or her healthcare provider. These centers aim to provide these services in a caring, safe and comfortable environment. Breast biopsy, if necessary, is available and can be performed with pin-point precision using local anesthesia.
A team of physicians, including radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, and surgeons, focus on early detection, diagnosis and treatment, often all under one roof. This interdisciplinary team works together weekly to prospectively assess each patient's diagnosis, develop a treatment plan and monitor patient's outcomes. This team approach means that you benefit from an enormous amount of combined experience and expertise in planning and evaluating your treatment and management of breast cancer.
Most centers are staffed with one or several nurse coordinators who will be ultimately involved with each patient as they move from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. They help coordinate all the healthcare team members and assist patients and families during this difficult time. Education is fundamental in the healing process. Your breast center coordinator is available to answer questions and ease any fears you may have.
Treatment of breast cancer is based on the size and location of the tumor, laboratory test results and stage of the disease. Patients diagnosed with cancer have access to a full range of treatments available.
Together, you and your physician team will decide on the most effective plan for you and your needs.
Often, that plan includes a multistage attack that combines different treatments like:
* Lumpectomy - removal of the lump and some surrounding tissue
* Mastectomy - removal of the breast
* Radiation and chemotherapy - targeted radiation and chemical treatments
You can feel confident that your comprehensive breast care team will work to provide the kind of care your mother, sister, daughter, or wife deserves.
John F. Nelson, M.D., "What is a Comprehensive Breast Center?" Woman's Way,
John F. Nelson, M.D., "What is a Comprehensive Breast Center?" Woman's Way, April 2006.