HEALTHY WOMAN: Upstate’s New Breast Care Center
STORY & PHOTO BY CAROLYN JANNETTI
The new year brings fresh and exciting news for Upstate University Hospital at Community General. A new state of the art Breast Care Center is to open on Jan. 17, 2013. It will be conveniently located directly across the hall from the Wellspring Breast Center on the first floor of the Physicians’ Office-Building South.
I was able to sit down with the center’s two exceptional breast surgeons, Dr Kristine Keeney and Dr. Mary Ellen Greco to talk about what the new center has to offer. The two doctors moved from a private practice affiliated with St. Joseph’s to work on breast care and surgery full time at the new facility. The new center is a place for asymptomatic patients, as well as people who might be experiencing pain or signs such as lumps, masses, or cysts.
They provide initial diagnosis, surgery, and referrals. Other services include ultrasound guided and stereo-tactic biopsies, as well as balloon catheter radiation. “We also provide genetic screening for patients who, because of family history, might be more prone to have a breast disease,” Dr. Kenney says.
The center has an extremely unique advantage that no other center in the area can claim. It is the only facility that does imaging and surgery in the same location. “We can take care of everything for the patient. This type of care takes the burden from the primary care doctors.”
Timing is everything. Their goal is to provide top medical care in a timely fashion. “If a person calls for an appointment, we will see her within 48 hours,” says Kenney. The time delay is reduced to a matter of days instead of weeks, which improves efficiency and accessibility for the patients. This makes life easier for someone who might be coming from out of town and only has an allotted amount of time.
Other specialists also are involved in the patient care process. A Nurse Navigator is on site to educate and support patients through cancer diagnosis. Under Dr. Greco and Dr. Keeney’s supervision, the center provides follow-ups with the patients after they are seen by the surgeons.
The Community General campus is ideal for such a center. There already is an extremely reputable imaging facility in place. Patients can take comfort in the fact that they never even need to enter the hospital. It is also set in a suburban location away from any hustle and bustle that might cause unneeded nervous tension.The tranquil environment is designed to calm anxiety in a relaxed waiting area offering plush bathrobes to wear instead of hospital gowns, and providing coffee and herbal teas. The facility has consultation rooms and features four exam rooms in addition to one procedure room equipped with ultrasound capabilities.
And the center is not just for women. Although the majority of the clientele are women, men can also suffer from breast pathology including breast cancer and the facility welcomes them as well.
Leading mammography specialist, Katherine Willer, stresses how well the new group works together. “This is a team effort all the way. From the receptionist to the highly specialized doctors, we all work closely together for the patient to have the best experience possible. We are dedicated to give the best comprehensive treatment around.” The center also offers same day readings of online results.
The center realizes the benefits and importance of a multidisciplinary approach to treating and diagnosing breast disease. Having a nationally accredited program for breast cancer (NAPBC) is critical in this regard. Because the new Breast Care Center is an NAPBC accredited program, it can provide services such as pathology, imaging, research, rehabilitation, plastic surgery consultation and treatment, a survivorship program, and much more all maintained in the same high level of vital care.
Hours of operation for the Upstate Breast Care Center at Community are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.upstate.edu/hospital/providers.