The FMH Center for Breast Care offers comprehensive services for women with breast cancer, benign breast disease and those with high risk for developing breast cancer. A team consisting of two fellowship trained breast surgeons, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, genetic counselors, social workers and the rest of our support staff are dedicated to the needs of our patients. For patients diagnosed with breast cancer, we have a collaborative care model that integrates surgical, medical and radiation oncology care, in a convenient, patient centered, healing environment. Our program and facility are unique in our community and in our region.
A DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER REQUIRES A TEAM
At FMH, we’re committed to the multidisciplinary care of our cancer patients. No one physician can provide all of your cancer care-it takes a team! No where is this more evident than at the Center for Breast Care at FMH Crestwood. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, or is told she has a suspicious mammogram, life changes in an instant. Various doctors’ appointments, tests and procedures must be scheduled. In many communities, this is the start of a game of “patient pong”, where a woman runs from office to office and facility to facility, trying to get the care she needs. Different imaging facilities and various medical specialists are often located in multiple different locations, aggravating an already stressful situation and delaying treatment. Surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists play telephone tag, trying to compare notes and come up with a coherent, unified treatment plan.
At the FMH Center for Breast Care, all services are co-located in a single facility, maximizing convenience and minimizing stress. Our two board certified breast surgeons, nurse practitioners and nurse navigator are laser focused on the care of the patient with breast disease. When a new patient calls, they are introduced to our navigator, who guides the patient through the entire care process, providing an experience that minimizes stress and the time from diagnosis to treatment. Imaging and biopsies are done on site in our state of the art breast imaging center. An imaging navigator coordinates with the Center for Breast Care navigator, ensuring seamless diagnosis and treatment. Newly diagnosed patients are evaluated in our multidisciplinary clinic on Friday afternoons and seen in one visit by a fellowship trained breast surgeon, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. Our specialists then meet, discuss the case and come to a consensus regarding the best treatment plan. That plan is communicated to the patient before they leave the clinic that afternoon. Our navigator, with the help of our administrative staff, takes care of all scheduling and provides education regarding treatment. The Center for Breast Care also provides support services, addressing a woman’s non-medical needs. Cancer affects people emotionally, as well as physically and impacts the entire family. Social work, pastoral care, financial counselors and other support services are available as needed. As a final check, all diagnosed breast cancer patients are discussed at the Breast Tumor Board on the Tuesday immediately following Friday’s multidisciplinary clinic. This conference includes oncology specialists in addition to those directly caring for the patient, pathologists, radiologists, social workers, cancer registrars and others. The tumor board serves as a form of “quality control”, providing additional perspectives and review of every patient’s diagnosis, staging and treatment.
In addition, the Center for Breast Care is the only program in our local area to offer immediate breast reconstruction. Women who undergo mastectomy may choose to undergo immediate breast reconstruction. Many centers are unable to offer this option, but we do. Working closely with our community’s most respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon, our breast surgeons can offer a single stage solution, when appropriate. This is just one more way that the Center for Breast Care addresses all of the needs of our patients.
SURVIVORSHIP AND WELLNESS
We provide total care, not just for the breast cancer patient under active treatment, but for women who have completed their treatment and those who are at high risk for developing breast cancer. At the end of treatment, patients receive a survivorship plan spelling out a long term follow up surveillance strategy as well as resources for maintaining wellness, fitness and nutrition. We also now offer a wellness program at FMH Crestwood that will incorporate exercise and nutritional counseling, overseen by an oncology certified exercise physiologist and licensed dietician.
CANCER RISK ASSESSMENT AND HIGH RISK CLINIC
We also offer a high risk clinic for women who are at risk for developing breast cancer or who wish to learn more about their cancer risk. Genetic counseling and testing, risk modification and surveillance services are available. Breast cancer is, unfortunately, a common disease. At FMH, our approach to breast care is decidedly uncommon. We’ve built a team that is dedicated to the care of patients with breast disease. We do it because it’s best for our patients and our community. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.