Breast Care Program
The Breast Care Program at the Regional Cancer Center ensures that patients
receive a lifetimes continuum of care, providing everything from routine
exams for ongoing breast health to specialized services if diagnosed or
considered at high risk for breast cancer.
- Counseling & guidance for high-risk patients
- Breast exams and screenings
- Surgical procedures
- Cancer management
- Follow-up care
High Risk Breast Screening Program
Women with certain health factors can be at a higher risk for breast diseases.
Simply being high risk does not mean a woman will develop the disease,
but it does mean she should be screened regularly.
The Regional Cancer Center has developed a screening program especially
for women at high risk for developing breast cancer. Led by the Imaging
Center for Women, breast imaging specialists and nurses provide an in-depth
medical and family history review, hereditary risk assessment and discuss
genetic testing. Women who are considered high risk receive individualized
screening recommendations, which may include MRI and genetic counseling.
Any patient who receives a mammogram at a Mary Washington imaging facility
has her overall lifetime risk of breast cancer determined using the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) Gail Model and individual risk factors.
Leaders in Breast-Conserving Cancer Treatment
Mary Washington Healthcare, where breast-conserving treatment methods for
breast cancer have been common since 1990, exceeds national averages for
success. Approximately 80% of our breast cancer patients choose breast-conserving
treatment, considerably more than the 62% average recorded in the American
College of Surgeons National Cancer Data Base of 1,500 cancer programs
in the U.S. accredited by the Commission on Cancer.
Because our patients can make informed decisions after being furnished
comprehensive information on the range on breast cancer treatments, fewer
than 2% who choose a breast-conserving method experience a local recurrence
of cancer. Women whose breasts remain intact tend to feel greater satisfaction
with their treatment overall, and national studies have shown survival
rates to be essentially the same after lumpectomy or total mastectomy.
In addition, women in the MWHC Breast Care Program receive continuous
follow-up to maintain their good health.
Expedient, Comprehensive Cancer Care
Our relationships with local imaging centers and the breast cancer navigator
model allow us to quickly begin treatment planning for women diagnosed
with breast cancer. Typically, within days, patients have consulted with
the Breast Care Program Medical Director and Surgeon, Darlene K. Blanchard
and treatment scheduled shortly thereafter. Dr. Blanchard is known for
her breast conserving therapies and oncoplastic surgery — restoring
breasts to their most natural appearance with only one surgery and recovery period.
If a woman does receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, we take a multidisciplinary,
highly personalized team approach to eradicating cancerous and noncancerous tumors.
Through weekly cancer conferences, the region’s leaders in cancer
care come together to consult on breast and other cancer cases to determine
an agreed upon course of treatment that’s most suitable for the patient.
Breast Cancer Navigator
Our Breast Cancer Navigator always stands ready to provide information,
guidance and support throughout a cancer journey, coordinating care to
expedite physician visits, testing and treatment plans and helping to
maintain peace of mind. Patients are encouraged to call on the Navigator
at any point during their care at no cost for help or access to:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Genetic counseling
- Support groups
- Nutrition consults
Integrative Medicine & Complementary Therapies
- Transportation and financial assistance
- Spiritual and emotional support
- Education and access to clinical trials
- Resources for family members
- Survivorship support
Medical Director Kay Blanchard, MD, PhD, FACS
Dr. Blanchard is a highly experienced breast cancer surgeon who has treated
more than 2,000 patients. She received her medical degree from Emory University
in Atlanta and completed her residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
Minnesota. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member
of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Board of Surgery
– General Surgery, and the Cancer Committee at Mary Washington Hospital.
Her expert oversight of our Breast Care Program is second to none.
Our facility is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program
for Breast Centers through the American College of Surgeons. NAPBC-accredited
centers provide access to comprehensive care by a multidisciplinary team,
information about ongoing clinical trials, and new treatment options.