Treating Breast Cancer in the Community
Bogdan Eftimie, MD
Hematologist-Oncologist at the UCSF - Washington Cancer Center
One in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives,
making it one of the most common forms of cancer in women. While there
is no way to completely prevent breast cancer, it is possible to find
the resources and support to diagnose, treat and in some cases even prevent
it. The full spectrum of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic as well as
ancillary support is available right here in the community under the auspices
of Washington Hospital and its partners and affiliates.
Understanding Your Risk
Finding breast cancer in its earliest stages can improve survivability
by as much as 32 percent in women over 60 years of age although that improvement
is a little less in women younger than that or older than 70 years. While
mammograms are still the standard for detecting the disease, it’s
important to know your individual risk as well.
Since 2013, Washington Hospital and its community partners have been conducting
breast cancer risk assessments at the
Washington Women’s Center as part of its regular screening process in order to identify women who
are at a statistically increased risk for developing breast cancer. The
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (Gail analysis), based on the work
done at the National Cancer Institute, uses a woman’s personal medical,
reproductive, genetic and family history to estimate her risk of developing
invasive breast cancer over a set amount of time.
Seeking Advanced Care
In 2009, Washington Hospital became the first Northern California institution
to be awarded a Center of Excellence Accreditation by The National Accreditation
Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a non-governmental, not-for-profit
organization that has been established to identify and recognize breast
centers providing quality care in the United States. What that means for
our patients is that, when a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, they
have all the skills and resources of a multidisciplinary physician panel
working together to give each patient the best chance of survival with
the best quality of life possible.
Twice a month, our team, which includes surgeons, radiation oncologists,
medical oncologists, pathologists, nurse navigators and others, gets together
to discuss each newly-diagnosed breast cancer patient to make sure we
are all in agreement on the best and most appropriate course of treatment.
By focusing on each patient, we’re invested in the breast cancer
journeys – from prevention to diagnosis and treatment, and, if needed,
through end-of-life care.
In 2017, the affiliation of UCSF Health and Washington Hospital Healthcare
System led to the creation of the UCSF – Washington Cancer Center.
This affiliation has extended to include the Radiation Oncology Center
where patients benefit from a staff that includes a board-certified radiation
oncologist from UCSF Health.
Tri-City residents have access to exceptional resources and care that
includes potential participation in clinical trials and the ability to
have their care reviewed by an expert panel at UCSF. This benefits our
community members by saving the cost, time, and headaches associated with
having to travel across the bay.
Finding Community Support
In addition to the advanced care one receives by virtue of our UCSF affiliation,
the Washington Hospital Women’s Center is a community resource for
breast health. Resources that are available include wellness classes such
as yoga or tai chi, women’s health education classes, oncology massages,
a breast cancer support group, and through HERS Breast Cancer Foundation,
help with post-surgical products and services. The annual Think Pink event
is designed to remind those in our community that there is life after
To learn more about the Women’s Center, visit the
Washington Hospital website. For for advice on screenings and risk assessments within your health
system, call a Washington Hospital Nurse Navigator at
Posted October, 2019