Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vista launches breast health care program

Every year, hundreds of people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Lake County. Estelle Waters, 77, of Round Lake Beach is one of them. She now understands the importance of being proactive when it comes to breast health.
While undergoing routine shoulder therapy Waters asked her doctor what might be causing the burning sensation under her nipple. Her doctor recommended she have a mammogram at Vista. Over the next week, Waters had a mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsy, breast cancer diagnosis and a mastectomy performed at Vista Medical Center East.
In conjunction with her primary physician, Waters’ individualized treatment plan was initiated. Waters was impressed with the proficiency and speed of Vista’s team in detecting the cancer and beginning treatment.
“Everybody is so nice and friendly at Vista,” she said. “They made me feel completely at ease.” Waters is currently undergoing chemotherapy and hopes to be cancer free in about a year.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. In 2009, more than 620 people in Vista Health System’s service area were diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), if breast cancer is caught early, close to 98 oercebt of women survive at least five years, and 85-90 percent survive at least ten years.
Those are encouraging statistics. However, catching breast cancer early is the key. Many people believe that if there is no history of breast cancer in their family they will not get it themselves. Statistics from the American Cancer Society show that 80-85 percent of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. For these reasons, it is essential that patients take a proactive approach to their breast health care.
Like Waters, residents of Lake County and Kenosha County have convenient and coordinated breast health care available close to home. In the fall of 2010, a team of over 25 healthcare professionals including physicians, surgeons, nurses, radiologists, and technologists formed a Breast Health Team to develop a comprehensive Breast Health Program at Vista. The goal of the team is to create a highly personalized patient care experience from screening to treatment.
Vista also appointed Nancy Herchenbach as executive director of oncology services. “The human touch is powerful and it is one of the first things you’ll notice when you visit one of our four screening and diagnostic centers,” said Herchenbach, a registered nurse with more than 16 years of oncology nursing care experience. “Our dedicated physicians, nurses, and technologists are sensitive to each patient’s needs, making certain they feel comfortable throughout the care process. We establish continuity of care by maintaining high levels of communication between our skilled practitioners and our patients.”
Nurse navigation services
In comprehensive cancer centers throughout the country, nurse navigators serve as an integral part of the care team. Vista recently added an oncology nurse navigator and a breast health navigator to support its patients. They are supported by the oncology inpatient unit team. Together, the multidisciplinary team works with patients to help them understand their treatment options and cope with the physical and psychosocial effects of breast cancer. Vista’s Breast Health Program offers nurse navigator services at no cost to patients. “For the women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, the process is overwhelming,” said Elizabeth Van Arsdale, RN and breast health navigator at Vista. “I offer an in-depth understanding of that process and I stay with them every step of the way,” she said.
To schedule a mammogram, call (847) 360-4184. To learn more about Vista’s Breast Health Program, call Van Arsdale at (847) 360-4063.

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