Breast Care Center
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Treatment at the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center

Preventative Services | Diagnostic Services | Multidisciplinary care (MDC) conference | Preparing for Breast Cancer Surgery class | Surgery | Clinical trials | Chemotherapy | Radiation | Support services | Survivorship program

Preventative services

The Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center works with medical providers throughout the community to provide free clinical breast exams. It is recommended that you have a clinical exam conducted by a health care professional each year.

Read more about cancer screenings.

If you are over 40, you should also have an annual mammogram. Digital mammography with same-day results is offered at the hospital. Along with regular self-exams, digital mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Read more about mammography at Saint Elizabeth.

Diagnostic services

While mammography is an excellent way to detect breast abnormalities, additional testing is often needed to determine whether the finding is malignant (cancerous) or benign. A biopsy, MRI or ultrasound is typically the next step.

There are several types of breast biopsies, but all involve removing tissue from the breast and studying it under a microscope. A pathologist will examine the cells and make a diagnosis. In some cases, a diagnosis can be made using an MRI or ultrasound.

Services include:

  • Stereotactic biopsy
  • MRI-guided biopsy
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

At the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center, we make quick turnaround a priority in order to reduce the amount of time you have to spend waiting for an answer. If the results are positive for breast cancer, we act quickly. Our patients move from diagnosis to treatment in an average of seven days (compared to the recommended standard of 21 days). The faster we move, the sooner you can get back to living life on your terms.

Multidisciplinary care (MDC) conference

Every case of breast cancer is different, and there are multiple treatment options. But there is a treatment path that is best suited to each type of cancer. We use a collaborative approach to examine all the possibilities and identify the appropriate method for your cancer.

The MDC conference brings together professionals from various medical disciplines to discuss your diagnosis prior to beginning treatment. This team of experts works together to create a comprehensive, coordinated care plan that is right for you.

The team includes:

  • Family practice physicians
  • Genetic counselors
  • Medical oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Surgeons
  • Your nurse navigator

Preparing for Breast Cancer Surgery class

At the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center, we believe that simply knowing what to expect can eliminate a lot of anxiety and give you a more positive experience. That’s why we offer the only pre-surgery class in the area.

During this free hour-and-a-half class, taught by a breast cancer nurse navigator, you will learn:

  • What to expect before and after surgery
  • Steps you can take to help prevent lymphedema
  • Insurance and breast cancer
  • Understanding your pathology report
  • Resources available through our survivorship program

The Preparing for Breast Cancer Surgery class meets weekly on Wednesday at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center. The class is free and open to patients of Saint Elizabeth. You are welcome to bring a friend or family member. Preregistration is required through the CARE office at 402-219-7123.

Surgery

Depending on the type and stage of your cancer, your surgery may be a lumpectomy (when the surgeon removes the tumor from the breast) or a mastectomy (when the surgeon removes the entire breast). At your request, a plastic surgeon may also be involved.

Learn about an innovative new procedure – one-step reconstruction – where the tumor is removed and reconstruction is completed at the same time.  Hear how one breast cancer survivor benefited from the new procedure.

Your nurse navigator will meet with you before surgery to answer any questions you may have. If you wish, a chaplain will also meet and pray with you.

Clinical trials

Saint Elizabeth is committed to advancing cancer treatment through research. One way we do this is by offering our patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. By joining a clinical trial, you’re ensuring your experience is used to help others in the future.

The Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center has access to national clinical trials through the Breast Cancer Collaborative Registry, the Center for Translational Research, the Nebraska Cancer Research Center and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

Breast Cancer Collaborative Registry (BCCR)

The BCCR is a web-based resource designed to help centers across the nation examine the factors that influence a woman’s experience with breast cancer, including the risk of developing the disease, survival and quality of life during survival in relation to treatment received. The database includes background information and biological samples from women diagnosed with breast cancer and their family members.

Center for Translational Research (CTR)

The CTR studies an individual’s genetic profile, in conjunction with disease and tumor type, to design personalized treatment regimens. The Center includes the Discovery Research Network, the MDx Laboratory and Development Services.

Nebraska Cancer Research Center

The Nebraska Cancer Research Center is a research leader among Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOPs). The Center’s research focuses on increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatments and therapies and decreasing side effects.

Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG)

The RTOG is funded by the National Cancer Institute and works to increase survival and improve quality of life for patients diagnosed with cancer. More than 360 institutions in the United States and Canada participate in RTOG research.

View a complete listing of all clinical trials currently open at the three Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) cancer centers in Nebraska and the Nebraska Cancer Research Center.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses chemicals to target cancer cells in the body. These chemicals generally inhibit the cells’ ability to divide, or reproduce. Chemotherapy may be the sole treatment method, or it may be used in combination with surgery and radiation.

Many patients choose to receive chemotherapy at a physician’s office. However, chemo is available at Saint Elizabeth if you wish to receive this treatment through the hospital.

Read more about the Saint Elizabeth Infusion Center.

Radiation

Radiation therapy targets cancer cells using radiation beams. Computerized treatment-planning programs allow us to direct radiation at a tumor from multiple angles, thus targeting the cancer cells and minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

Saint Elizabeth offers top-quality radiation treatment that is close to your home, family and friends. Women at Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center are benefiting from a new radiation therapy treatment called AccuBoost® that cuts down on the body’s exposure to radiation.

Read more about radiation therapy.
Read more about AccuBoost.

Support services

Our job is to help patients heal not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. The Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center takes a holistic approach, offering a complete range of support services designed to promote all aspects of healing.

Counseling, including genetic counseling

Our genetic counselor will help you understand whether your family is at risk for hereditary breast cancer. Genetic testing may also help determine whether you are at risk for developing another type of cancer.

Read more about cancer genetic counseling.

Financial services

We are committed to assisting those who seek our care, regardless of their ability to pay. If you are unable to pay for all or part of the care you receive from our hospital, you may be eligible for free or discounted services.

Read more about financial assistance from Saint Elizabeth.

Lymphedema specialist

Our lymphedema specialist, the only one in the area, is on hand to treat the symptoms of this condition. There is no cure for lymphedema, but our specialist can help you control any discomfort.

Massages

Research shows that massages provide breast cancer patients with physical and emotional benefits including reduced pain and anxiety. Patients at the Saint Elizabeth Breast Care Center have the opportunity to receive massage therapy in coordination with their treatment.

Nutrition services

Our nutritionist can help you understand and plan for what your body needs during and after treatment.

Palliative care

Palliative care is focused on relieving pain and other symptoms of your breast cancer. It can be administered at the same time as treatment in order to improve your quality of life, reduce stress and help you focus on getting well.

Read more about palliative care.

Physical therapy

Spiritual counseling

As part of our commitment to healing the whole person, we offer patients spiritual counseling with the hospital chaplain.

Survivorship program

Healing continues even after treatment is over. Our survivorship program is designed to help you move forward with your life after cancer. We help you work through the recovery process, as well as organize and keep track of your treatment records.

American Cancer Society programs and community resources

Several free services and programs are provided through the American Cancer Society.

  • I Can Cope: Doctors, nurses and other experts teach these free classes to help adults with cancer and their loved ones learn to cope with their situation. For more information, call 402-423-4893.
  • Look Good . . . Feel Better: This free program for women in active cancer treatment helps them manage appearance-related side effects. For more information, call 402-423-4893.
  • Reach to Recovery: Breast cancer survivors provide one-on-one support to help other women cope with their cancer and treatment. For more information, call 1-877-227-1618.
  • Road to Recovery: Volunteer drivers provide transportation for cancer patients traveling to and from appointments. For more information, call 1-877-227-1618.

There are also resources within our own community that can help you and your loved ones manage the emotions and side effects of cancer.

  • Hearts of Hope: Mourning Hope provides this support group for children, teens and young adults who have a family member with a serious illness. For more information, call 402-488-8989.
  • The Nebraska Cancer Research Center: The center provides free wigs, turbans, hats, scarves, breast prosthesis and more. For more information, call 402-483-2827.

A Time to Heal

This free post-treatment program will help you work through all aspects of healing: physical, emotional and spiritual. The class is held two times each year and meets once a week for 12 weeks.

Topics include:

  • Nutrition
  • Spirituality
  • Coping relationships
  • Regaining strength
  • Relaxation
  • Happiness

Call 402-219-5000 for more information or to find out when the next session begins.

Breast cancer support group

Our all-female breast cancer support group, led by a cancer nurse navigator, offers a confidential, informal atmosphere for you to voice your concerns and ask questions. Participants share their experiences and provide each other with support and encouragement.

The group regularly features expert speakers, and all participants have access to a resource library with tools and information to aid your recovery.

Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month from 7:00–8:30 p.m. in the Radiation Therapy Department at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center. Parking is available in the Radiation Therapy parking lot on the west side of the hospital. For more information or to receive reminder emails with the date and topic of upcoming meetings, please call 402-219-7258.

Read more about our breast cancer support group

Survivorship care plans

The survivorship care plan serves as a communication tool between survivors and health care providers. The plan provides you and your primary care physician with a comprehensive treatment summary and wellness plan that focuses on your long-term needs.

Read more about our survivorship care plans.

Special events on an ongoing basis

Past events have included:

  • Knock Cancer Out of the Park: Cancer survivors celebrated their experiences at a special event in conjunction with a Saltdogs baseball game.
  • Expressions of Art & Hope: Saint Elizabeth partnered with Lux Center for the Arts to offer a series of free art classes designed to allow cancer patients opportunities for creativity, self-expression and reflection.
  • Spiritual Pathways
  • Elvis in Pink
  • Power of Pink: Joel Sartore, a photographer with National Geographic, shared how his wife’s battle with breast cancer reconnected him with his family and refocused his work.