New Approach to Breast Care
Southcoast Breast Center welcomes eminent breast surgeon
Maureen Chung, MD, PhD, FACS, FRSC, a widely published and prominent oncological surgeon specializing in breast health, recently joined Southcoast Health as Medical Director of the Southcoast Breast Center. Prior to her appointment with Southcoast, Dr. Chung served as director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center at Saint John’s Health Center, as well as director of the Breast Oncology Fellowship and Margie and Robert E. Petersen Breast Cancer Research Programs at John Wayne Cancer Institute. She has also served as a breast surgeon at Women & Infants and Rhode Island Hospitals and program director of the Women & Infants’ Breast Disease Fellowship.
Dr. Chung speaks candidly with Health+ about her approach to care and exciting new offerings at the Southcoast Breast Center.
Health+: What is your approach to patient care?
Dr. Chung: I approach every patient as a unique individual who comes to me with a problem. A person is not just a diagnosis — they are so much more. It’s really about making care more personalized.
Health+: Why did you join Southcoast Health?
Dr. Chung: I wanted to work in a center that really cares about people. I was struck by the caring attitude because sometimes that can be lost in the process of trying to get work done. Instead of working in isolation, it’s about talking to people, being friendly and being part of a family.
Health+: What are your plans for the Breast Health Center?
Dr. Chung: Our focus is on comprehensive care. Radiologists, surgeons and all care providers in the Center will collaborate and work as a team to offer the best care. So from the patient point of view, if you come in with a breast concern, you can have a clinical examination, mammogram and ultrasound, and then meet with the care team to immediately learn about what is going on. No more going home to anxiously await for results..
Health+: Does having a team approach improve patient outcomes?
Dr. Chung: It does. Among other advantages, taking a team approach shortens the time between the initial visit and surgery or a final diagnosis. A collaborative approach also makes it easier for patients to complete their care, and it helps with outcomes. And the time between initially having a symptom and surgery or a final diagnosis is shortened, and that expedited timeline also helps outcomes.
Health+: What new procedures or new technology will be offered under your direction?
Dr. Chung: We’re bringing in tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammograms, so that we can offer the latest, best care to our patients in our community. I’ve introduced some procedures — like nipple-sparing mastectomies and cryoablation, where you can freeze tumors instead of taking them out surgically — which haven’t been done at Southcoast before. We are also working on introducing surgical techniques that you get in larger breast centers.
Health+: Are you excited about your new position?
Dr. Chung: I’m very excited to be here at Southcoast Health, and I look forward to a great future. There is significant enthusiasm within our Southcoast Health Breast Center as we all share a universal commitment to solidifying our position as the premier breast health specialists and program.