breast care team

The Southeastern Med Breast Center has a foundation based on local cancer care provided by a facility and staff accredited by the Commission on Cancer and the NAPBC.

The main hospital facility is the center of a medical campus that houses all the services required for diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in our community and for patients from several surrounding counties. There are seven counties in our region of the state with no health care facility and two others with only critical access facilities. We truly are a regional care provider for breast health issues.

A dedicated outpatient facility one block from the hospital provides screening mammography with minimal time and effort for the patient. A group of board-certified radiologists is available and on-site at all times to evaluate both screening and diagnostic studies. Transmission of images via computer (PACS) makes images available to all providers at all times in any location.

The hospital provides a full range of diagnostic modalities including mammography, ultrasound, MRI, CT, nuclear and PET scanning. Stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI directed biopsy techniques are readily available.

Five board-certified surgeons provide surgical care for breast patients in the community. Four of the surgeons are located in a single office on campus and are available to evaluate patients with new breast masses or abnormal imaging within 24 hours, and in many cases, patients are seen the same day as an abnormality is detected. The great majority of patients get a rapid diagnosis by needle biopsy and definitive surgery can be carried out within 7-10 days of the diagnosis in most cases.

Every patient that is a suitable candidate is given the option of conservative surgery. Sentinel node sampling for nodal disease has been the standard for many years. Pathology services are on site and turn-around time for biopsies is 24 hours and usually 48 hours on lumpectomies and mastectomies.
Each and very breast cancer case is discussed at the frequent multidisciplinary breast care conferences, with the majority being discussed prior to definitive surgery.

Patients get an automatic referral to our full-time breast navigator early in the course of their diagnosis. Every single breast cancer case is referred to medical oncology and radiation oncology to guarantee true multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art care.

The cancer center housing medical and radiation oncology services is also on campus and offers the complete array of therapeutic modalities for breast cancer treatment. The hospital also has a designated ambulatory infusion center for those who need more intense monitoring. The cancer registrar, breast health navigator, palliative care service and the cancer resource center are all conveniently located in an adjoining area of the hospital.

The hospital is partnered with OhioHealth, a network of 11 member hospitals, 60+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area. OhioHealth is a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®,  a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. MD Anderson is the top ranked cancer hospital in the nation. Soon, Southeastern Med patients will be able to schedule genetic counseling appointments with an OhioHealth genetic counselor via telemedicine. During this appointment, a comprehensive risk assessment for hereditary cancer will be provided.

The ideal arrangement for quality breast care is a center or clinic housing multiple specialists that act as a team to care for benign and malignant breast disease. The specialists involved in such a clinic include surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, genetics counselors and breast navigators.
But an all-encompassing breast center is not feasible in resource-limited areas. To facilitate state-of-the-art care for breast patients at our facility we have instituted the Southeastern Med Virtual Breast Clinic program.

In our community, all primary care providers can and do order breast imaging and breast biopsies when suggested by the interpreting radiologist. Many practitioners will immediately refer the patient to a surgeon at the time of the initial abnormal imaging. Individual practitioners receive the results of all imaging and biopsy results.

In addition, the Breast Navigator collects results of all abnormal mammograms, ultrasound studies and MRI studies and all biopsy reports. The information is collated in a notebook along with other pertinent patient information in regards to symptoms and physical examinations. The Breast Team Leadership (BTL) then reviews each and every BIRADS Category IV and V mammogram and each biopsy performed by radiology or other practitioners.

Additionally, any case involving a history of a palpable mass and negative radiologic studies is closely evaluated. Our program cares for 30-40 new breast cancer cases per year. Our radiology department performs an average of 130 biopsies per year. The Breast Navigator and BTL act as a team to review and track every patient that has had a biopsy or who needs radiologic follow-up for abnormal images. Any discordance or irregularity triggers contact with the primary care provider, radiologist, pathologist or surgeon to resolve the issue. We have reviewed 156 breast-related cases from 2014. There is no cost to the patient for this quality assurance activity organized by the Southeastern Med Breast Team Leadership.

The Southeastern Med Breast Program has always been very involved in education and screening activities for the entire region, including providing services for women from 18 counties via the Ohio Department of Health Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and by conducting several totally free breast screenings yearly that include clinical breast exam, mammography, breast cancer risk assessment calculations, financial resource counseling and breast education.

The Breast Program purchased a giant inflatable breast education exhibit that is utilized for community education and awareness events. This exhibit has been loaned to organizations across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania for breast health events out of our area.

Due to the incredible success of our local colorectal cancer screening program, the Ohio Department of Health has offered our facility a grant to develop a pilot program to deliver regional breast and cervical care for indigent and underinsured patients that could be duplicated in other areas of the state with underserved populations.

Breast Program Leadership strives to keep our community informed about the services available and, more importantly, about the way that quality care is provided and measured locally. The program provides regular community reports on breast care to guarantee transparency for our patients. We regularly outperform regional, state and national centers in terms of cancer quality benchmarks. The community has responded by choosing to receive their care locally, despite the presence of a nationally recognized cancer center a little over an hour away. Our CoC CQIP reports document an extremely low outmigration rate for breast and colon cancer patients in our region.

The Breast Program is assisted by funds from the Komen Foundation, the local community cancer coalition, and from a local group that even includes a regional motorcycle organization poker run fundraiser.

In summary, the Southeastern Med Breast Center provides a full range of care for breast cancer patients throughout all phases of their diagnosis, treatment and recovery.