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Washington Hospital Women's Center, a Place of Comfort and Confidence

Washington Hospital Women's Center, a Place of Comfort and Confidence

The Washington Women’s Center was designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in June 2012 by the American College of Radiology. The Women’s Center also is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a nongovernmental not-for-profit organization established to recognize breast centers that provide the best possible diagnostic and treatment options.

Many patients, however, will say that the most impressive aspects of the Women’s Center are the staff and the environment. Understanding that whether a woman is coming in for a routine mammogram or a follow-up to a biopsy, an atmosphere that reduces anxiety is important.

“Our goal at the Washington Women’s Center is not only to address how to improve cancer patient survivorship, but also to increase awareness of cancer prevention and screenings,” says Christine Mikkelsen, RN, who also serves as a certified breast health nurse navigator at the center. “With cotton robes, soothing music and beautiful wall art, our intention is to make every patient feel calm and comforted.”

“Breast cancer is actually fairly common,” notes Medical Director of the Women’s Center, William E. Dugoni, MD. “Most people’s lives will be touched by breast cancer—either directly or because someone they know has been diagnosed.”

He emphasizes, however, that if caught early, breast cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. “I encourage women to make sure mammograms are part of their annual preventive health care plans. If problems are found, they are treatable—and we can’t say that about a lot of cancers.” The Women’s Center offers advanced techniques for diagnosis using 3D tomosynthesis, which provides better images and more opportunities for early diagnosis.

Dr. Dugoni notes, “It’s important that our community members know that they don’t have to travel out of the area to receive first-class care.”

NAPBC accreditation

To receive NAPBC accreditation, centers must show they offer the following services:

  • 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

If a patient’s mammogram is abnormal, she will receive a phone call from a nurse navigator to schedule a follow-up appointment. For patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, a nurse navigator will meet with the patient to help guide them and their family members through the breast cancer treatment journey.

Whether answering some of the many initial questions, or offering resources such as an introduction to the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, nurse navigators help patients feel less overwhelmed and more able to focus on the healing process. “It really is a blessing for me to be a nurse navigator to help guide and support women as they embark on this stressful journey,” Mikkelsen says.

Dr. Dugoni notes the technology that plays a role in the diagnosis and treatment plans for community members. “By offering these services in a local setting, our community members can receive the care they need without having to travel far from home. In addition to 3D tomosynthesis, the Women’s Center offers MRI and MRI-guided breast biopsies. These noninvasive breast imaging procedures can be utilized for high-risk patients, surgical planning, and identifying the extent of the spread of breast cancer. And through our affiliation with UCSF Health, patients have access to linear accelerator radiotherapy using the most advanced linear accelerator. This state-of-the-art system delivers a broad array of powerful radiation oncology therapies with pinpoint accuracy.”

Through their affiliation with UCSF Health, Washington Hospital can offer genetic testing to patients with a family history of cancer.

Academic-level care in a welcoming environment without having to leave the Tri-City Area is a benefit to local community members. To learn more about the Washington Hospital Women’s Center, visit Details about their cancer programs, including the UCSF – Washington Cancer Center, can be found at

Schedule Your Mammogram

Once a physician order is received, mammograms can be scheduled by calling 510.818.7410. Regular appointment schedule is Monday – Friday, 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the months of October, November and December, Saturday appointments (except Nov. 25, Dec. 30) are available from 7:45 a.m. to noon.