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Breast Cancer Conference

You Have Breast Cancer – four words that can turn a woman’s world upside down.

If you’re like most women, hearing the news that you have breast cancer can be pretty overwhelming, triggering an avalanche of emotions and questions.

“How serious is it? Has it spread? Will they take my breast? Will I need chemo? Can they get it all? What happens next?”  Sound familiar?

It’s the What happens next? question that we want to help with first. That’s why we created the Breast Cancer Conference. Essentially, the Breast Cancer Conference is a roundtable discussion where you and an entire team of highly skilled cancer specialists come together to talk about your individual case and, with your involvement, design the most effective and appropriate state-of-the-art treatment strategy to tackle your disease.

The Conference will take place within days of your diagnosis. During the session Elkhart General Hospital breast cancer specialists will explain the test results that led to your diagnosis. You’ll see your mammogram and ultrasound images, discuss biopsy results, and review findings from any other diagnostic procedures you may have had. We want to make sure you have a clear and complete picture of your condition as it stands right now.

Next, we’ll talk with you about various treatment options. Every doctor in the room will already be familiar with your unique case, and will be prepared to discuss recommendations on the most appropriate course of treatment related to his or her area of expertise. You can trust that each specialist you’ll talk with brings to the Conference the advanced technology and clinical expertise that has made Elkhart General one of the most respected cancer treatment centers in the Midwest. No matter the specifics of your individual treatment plan, you can be confident that the quality of care you’ll receive at every step meets the nation’s highest standards for cancer care excellence. And it’s all available right here at home.

What you can expect to cover during the Conference

Virtually every breast cancer patient will require surgery of some type, so your surgeon will talk with you in detail about surgical options and the procedure that’s best for you. A medical oncologist will address whether or not chemotherapy will be needed, and if so, what you can expect in terms of potential side effects. The radiation oncologist will explain the role radiation therapy will play in the overall plan, again with an emphasis on expected outcomes and any side effects you might experience. A dietitian and a social services specialist will be available; you’ll even learn about clinical trials that you might choose to participate in.

In short, every aspect of your disease will be covered at the Conference. Every question and concern will be addressed, and a clearly scheduled treatment plan will evolve – a plan that’s designed especially for your unique condition, and that you, along with all of the physicians involved, are totally on board with. Other family members are invited to attend the Conference – in fact, we encourage it. And your primary-care physician is also invited to participate.

Your team includes:

Following is a list of specialists who typically participate in the Breast Cancer Conference:

  • Surgeon – to discuss appropriate surgical procedures and expected outcomes
  • Medical Oncologist – to address chemo-therapy and other treatment options
  • Radiation Oncologist ­– to cover appropriate radiation treatments
  • Radiologist – to review your mammogram and other exams that led to the diagnosis
  • Pathologist – to explain results of your biopsy or other tests you’ve had
  • Clinical Research Nurse – to discuss clinical trials you might be interested in
  • Oncology Care Coordinator – your personal guide who will be with you throughout the entire journey

You’re never on your own. Your Oncology Care Coordinator serves as your personal guide throughout the entire journey.

Clearly, your Breast Cancer Conference will cover a lot of ground, and it might all sound like a lot to take in. That’s where your Oncology Care Coordinator comes into play. Her job is to guide you through the entire process. She not only will prepare you for the Breast Cancer Conference but she’ll stay involved every step of the way throughout your treatment. When you have questions, she’ll be there to get answers. If you have concerns, she’ll line you up with the right people to talk with. She can even help schedule your appointments. Think of her as your personal advocate. She’ll be there whenever you need her.

Clearly, your Breast Cancer Conference will cover a lot of ground, and it might all sound like a lot to take in. That’s where your Oncology Care Coordinator comes into play. Her job is to guide you through the entire process. She not only will prepare you for the Breast Cancer Conference but she’ll stay involved every step of the way throughout your treatment. When you have questions, she’ll be there to get answers. If you have concerns, she’ll line you up with the right people to talk with. She can even help schedule your appointments. Think of her as your personal advocate. She’ll be there whenever you need her.

For more information

For additional information on the Elkhart General Hospital Breast Cancer Conference program, please call (574) 296-6553.