When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer it can be a lonely and often scary place. Thats where the team at McLaren Port Huron comes in, providing all the care and support she will need for the journey ahead.
The Womens Wellness Place at McLaren Port Huron, recognized as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence since 2009 by the American College of Radiology, offers comprehensive care for women from well-care to helping them navigate the often confusing and contradictory breast screening guidelines.
During the month of October, McLaren Port Huron will be providing free mammogram screenings for women who are without insurance. An order from a physician is required and a limited number of appointments are available.
Dr. Kimberley Clark-Paul is a breast care surgeon at McLaren Port Huron with a great passion for womens health care, specializing in breast care, malignant and benign diseases as well as breast surgery.
We have a multi-coordinated team right here, says Dr. Clark- Paul. For instance, I can coordinate with the radiologist, medical oncology, and a radiation oncologist while the patient is here. Also, its possible to get extra (mammography) views right here, if needed.
A mammogram is an X-ray that is used to check for changes in the breast and even women who have no clinical concerns in their breast are scheduled for a screening because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before you or your physician can feel them. The procedure lasts about 20 minutes and includes taking at least two images of each breast.
Since Mammography is the standard for breast cancer detection, Womens Wellness Place offers several options. While 2D mammography which produce high-definition images that help your doctor see if there are any abnormalities, 3D imaging produces a more comprehensive image so cancer can be detected at an earlier stage, particularly in women with dense breast tissue.
Still, 3D mammography may be a better option for some patients due to improved diagnostic accuracy. It also reduces false positives, sparing you the worry and expense of coming back for follow-up tests.
After testing, as technology continues to advance, McLaren is proud to have a Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute located on their campus. It brings high-quality oncology care and state-of-the-art technologies to breast cancer patients without the need to leave their community.
The Karmanos Radiation Oncology team focuses on cancer from outside of the body using technology such as External Beam Radiation and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. These treatments allow high doses of radiation to be administered to the tumor or to regions within the tumor while minimizing the dose to surrounding tissue and organs.
The patients unique pathology, stage of disease, history, and best treatment according to expertise and national standards are discussed, said Dr. Clark-Paul.
Women who have cancer of the left breast may be at potential risk for heart disease from the radiation treatment. This is because the left breast is closer to the heart, which means it may be in the radiation field. (The lung may also be in the radiation field.)
If the heart receives radiation during breast cancer treatment, women may be at greater risk for coronary heart disease. This potential hazard may be further increased if a patient is also receiving chemotherapy at the same time, or if the woman is at higher risk for heart disease in the first place.
One method the cancer institute uses to treat left breast cancer is by deep inspiration breath hold, a way to give radiation therapy to the left breast while protecting the patient's heart. The radiation is delivered to the left breast cancer while the patient holds their breath, thus moving their heart away from the radiation therapy.
In addition to state-of-the-art treatment from the team of physicians, McLaren Port Huron also provides a dedicated team of clinicians, such as a nurse navigator, social workers, case managers, physical therapists, and dietitians. The Oncology Nurse Navigator will be a familiar face that is always there to answer questions, reinforce patient education, ease anxiety and eliminate any barriers that might impede care.
What I like is that we can focus not only the patient, but on the needs of the family while the patient is going through this difficult time, said Dr. Clark-Paul. Each patient and family have an individual journey. There could be financial or transportation issues that are creating barriers in their care. With a team, were in a better position to help.
Breast cancer patients also have access to a variety of support services focused on a holistic approach including: physical therapy, social work services and music therapy.
To make an appointment for a free screening or for more information, call Womens Wellness Place at 810-985-2663. This program is presented free of charge through the support of Womens Wellness Place, the Donna M. Niester Breast Cancer Fund, the Free Mammogram Fund, and X-Ray Associates of Port Huron.
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