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Breast cancer patients benefit from collaborative care

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The comprehensive breast services team at Aurora BayCare Medical Center from left to right: Ally Curtis, RN; Kristin Cherney, coordinator; Marina Romera, LPN; Molly Linzmeier, NP; and Dr. Natalie Luehmann

October is about more than breast cancer awareness

Today, pink ribbons are almost as synonymous with October as ghosts, goblins and too much Halloween candy. However, the comprehensive breast services team at Aurora BayCare Medical Center wants the conversation around breast cancer to focus on more than just awareness about the disease.

“We want men and women to know the facts about breast cancer, but also the difference comprehensive care can make in their journey,” says Dr. Natalie Luehmann, a fellowship-trained breast surgeon with Aurora BayCare General & Vascular Surgery.

Comprehensive breast cancer care makes all the difference

Comprehensive cancer care refers to a cancer patient’s journey from start to finish, Luehmann says.

For breast cancer patients, that journey often starts with a screening. From there, however, the journey can take several different routes depending on a patient’s situation and may include providers from a variety of specialized disciplines.

BayCare Clinic and Aurora BayCare Medical Center have several specialists with additional training in breast care.

“With comprehensive cancer care, the entire treatment team works together to care for each patient,” Luehmann says. “With us, there’s so much communication and teamwork going on behind the scenes for each patient, even before they come into the clinic … it allows us to be thorough in our approach, but also ensures that everything is as personalized and as individualized as it can be for each patient.

“Each decision regarding their care is something they have a choice in, but also one that a panel of people have discussed at length,” she adds. “Patients can be assured they are getting the care they need and deserve.”

The comprehensive breast services team varies to meet each patient’s individual needs, but may include disciplines such as radiology, surgery, oncology, radiation oncology, plastic surgery, genetics, primary care, physical therapy and more.

Patients may work with each of these providers throughout their breast cancer journey, seeing some of them for appointments on the same day.

“It’s really about making it easy for the patients to navigate,” Luehmann adds.

Breast cancer can affect anyone

Approximately 1 in 8 women develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

It is the most diagnosed cancer among American women, but men also can develop breast cancer.

That’s why working with a dedicated team of specialized providers from a variety of fields can make a difference.

“There have been so many advancements in the field of breast cancer research that things change often,” Luehmann says. “That’s why it’s important to find (a provider) that keeps up to date with the most recent training and intervention methods.”

In 2022, Aurora BayCare Medical Center earned accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

Programs that are accredited by the NAPBC follow a model to facilitate multidisciplinary, integrated, comprehensive breast cancer services in the community.

Published: Monday, October 3, 2022
Author: Alysha Schertz