Washington Hospital Breast Cancer Program Exceeds National Treatment Standards
The Washington Hospital Breast Center has met or exceeded national standards in 10 categories for screening and treatment of breast cancer, according to evaluation data released in August by the hospital’s Breast Health Committee.
The analysis of 120 Washington Hospital patients with breast cancer treated this past year shows diagnostic and treatment results critical to improving breast cancer outcomes. Among the data analyzed:
- The average number of days from a screening mammography to a diagnostic mammography in patients who have breast cancer is 3 days at Washington Hospital compared to a national recommended standard of 14 days.
- Subsequently the average number of days from the diagnostic mammogram to a tissue diagnosis of cancer is 7 days at the hospital compared to a national benchmark of 14 days.
- Breast conserving surgery (lumpectomies) in women with cancer identified Stage 1 to Stage II was 67 percent, compared to the national rate of 60 percent.
- The percentage of patients undergoing re-excision (further surgery) due to close or positive margins following the initial surgery was 8 percent, compared to nationally reported data of 23 percent.
- Successful identification of the sentinel lymph node (the initial lymph node likely to carry cancer into the body elsewhere) was 95 percent compared to the nationally reported rate of 85 percent.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy rates performed in cancer patients who initially showed negative lymph node results was 93 percent compared to the benchmark rate of 90 percent
- Core biopsy used as the initial method of diagnosis (following positive diagnostic mammograms) was 95 percent compared to the benchmark of 85 percent.
- Radiation therapy was administered within one year (365 days) to 100 percent of the women under the age of 70 who received breast conserving surgery for breast cancer compared to 88 percent nationally, as measured by the American College of Surgeons National Cancer Database.
The data analysis covers all breast cancer patients treated at the hospital, according to Marianne Heltzel, the Cancer Registry Program manager. The Cancer Registry Program, which is separate from the Women’s Health Center, has been tracking diagnostic and outcomes data since 1990.
She said the data analysis has shown overall steady improvement in both diagnosis and outcomes since she first began collecting data. Diagnosis and outcomes have improved significantly since the Women’s Center opened in 2006, Heltzel said.
“The number of breast cancers treated at the hospital has increased,” Heltzel said, “mainly because we’re seeing patients earlier, we’re catching the cancer earlier and the survival rate is higher because of that.”
According to Heltzel, the Washington Women’s Center staff is responsible for getting patients in quickly for mammogram and core biopsy appointments. Led by Women’s Center Coordinator/Navigator Laura Constantine, R.N., the center’s efforts have made a tremendous difference in lowering the time intervals between screening and diagnostic mammograms and time to biopsy.
The Women’s Center serves as a welcoming center, a home base of sorts, for women of the Tri-City area according to Women’s Center Coordinator Constantine.
“We offer a variety of advanced diagnostic services as well as numerous wellness and support programs for women,” Constantine said.
The Center’s warm, soothing surroundings and personal amenities are specifically designed to help women feel calm and comforted as they participate in the easy-to-access healthcare programs available in a single setting, Constantine added.
The Center provides a multi-disciplinary team approach to breast health including:
- Physician collaboration
- Nurse navigation to assure timely appointments
- Multidisciplinary care conferences
- A tumor registrar coordinator who maintains statistics and quality measures
- Genetic risk assessment and testing
- Lymphedema services
- Education and support
Washington Women’s Center has been accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to identify and recognize breast centers that provide the best possible care to patients with breast cancer. The evaluations occur every three years.
NAPBC-accredited centers demonstrate:
- A multidisciplinary, team approach to coordinate the best care and treatment options available
- Access to breast cancer-related information, education, and support
- Breast cancer data collection on quality indicators for all subspecialties involved in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
- Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care
- Information about clinical trials and new treatment options
The Women’s Center also was designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in 2012 by the American College of Radiology which recognizes breast imaging centers that have earned accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy and breast ultrasound, including ultrasound-guided breast biopsy.
To learn more about the programs and services offered at the Washington Women's Center, visit www.whhs.com/womenscenter.
"Think Pink" Offers Breast Health Education and Support
For the fifth year in a row, Washington Hospital is hosting its free Think Pink event to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Think Pink offers women the latest information on breast health as well as breast cancer screening guidelines and treatments. This year's event is supported by grants from Genentech and Ambry Genetics. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Tent Atrium at Washington West Ð located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. To register to attend this year's Think Pink event, or for more information, visit whhs.com/think-pink or call (800) 963-7070.