Advanced Breast Care in a Supportive Environment

Addressing breast concerns is less daunting when you get answers fast

Every woman experiences breast changes during her lifetime, but sometimes even harmless changes lead to troubling signs, like lumps or abnormal mammogram results. When this happens to you, you want answers — fast.

“We see patients with every breast concern, from lumps, pain, skin or nipple changes to questions about their cancer risk and prevention,” says Maureen Chung, MD, PhD, Medical Director of the Breast Program and surgical oncologist at Southcoast Health. “When you talk to these women, they’ll tell you one of the hardest parts is the waiting.”

Southcoast’s Breast Program provides advanced care in a patient-friendly setting that emphasizes rapid diagnosis-to-treatment time and one-to-one patient support. A nurse navigator provides education and serves as a guide through the diagnostic process. In addition, each member of the program’s specialized team aims to offer tests, results and scheduling in the shortest possible time frame.

For example, an appointment after receiving abnormal mammogram results will typically be made in 24 to 48 hours, and a surgery may be scheduled about two weeks from diagnosis rather than the national average wait time of one month. “Every specialty works together to shorten these time intervals, with the goal of improved mental and physical well-being,” says Dr. Chung. “And that helps us provide the best possible outcomes.”

Talk about it

While only 12 percent of American women develop breast cancer, the disease deserves attention, because regular screening has been shown to reduce breast cancer deaths.

“Most breast changes are not cancer,” says Dr. Chung. “This is all the more reason to talk to your doctor when you have questions or concerns about your breasts.”

The Southcoast Breast Program is designed to support this doctor-patient dialogue, says Dr. Chung. “We’re not only a place to get a mammogram. We’ve created a place for patients and their referring doctors to get the most up-to-date knowledge in breast health, and for patients to receive timely, comprehensive ongoing care,” she explains.

Benefits of advanced technology

When you have breast health concerns, it helps to know that you can get specialized care close to home, with minimal waiting. Breast clinics are held in three locations: Fall River, Dartmouth and Fairhaven. Southcoast has 12 digital mammography sites and three advanced diagnostic locations, along with the latest screening and treatment innovations, including:

  • 3-D mammography: Available at Southcoast’s Fall River and Dartmouth diagnostic locations, this newer mammogram technology allows the radiologist to better see abnormalities, especially in women with dense breast tissue, reducing the chance of false positives.
  • Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI): This highly targeted radiation treatment for cancer significantly reduces the total number of treatments necessary when compared with standard radiation, and is offered in Fairhaven and Fall River.
  • Cryoablation: This non-surgical technique removes non-cancerous lesions and can be performed in an office visit.

The Southcoast Breast Program not only provides a healing environment for women with cancer, but it also supports those who have other breast problems or questions. “Once you are our patient, no matter your diagnosis, we continue to follow your care and quickly respond to your questions and concerns,” says Dr. Chung.

Southcoast’s Breast Program provides a full range of care. For more information, call 508-973-1021.