Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?
We understand that a cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering event for patients and their loved ones, with many questions about treatment and quality of life. Virginia Mason has one of the leading programs for breast cancer treatment programs in Washington state. Patients come from all over the Puget Sound area and beyond to receive care from our expert team of board-certified physicians, nurses and caregivers with special interests in the diagnosis, treatment and research of breast cancer.
Patients initially talk with our nurse navigator who helps manage appointments and answer questions about breast cancer treatment and accessing the medical center. If you have recently received a breast cancer diagnosis, you can receive immediate guidance from the breast cancer care coordinator by calling (206) 223-8862.
Breast Cancer Care at Virginia Mason
At Virginia Mason, patients with breast cancer receive care from an interdisciplinary group of specialists that includes breast cancer surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, genetic specialists, physical therapists, social workers and others, who work with each patient to determine the best approach to treatment.
Some of our best practices for patients include:
Recognized Breast Cancer Center
The breast cancer program at Virginia Mason is recognized by the National Consortium of Breast Centers and the Commission on Cancer as being at the highest level of breast cancer centers, a comprehensive program offering all of the components of care related to breast cancer.
Expert Breast Cancer Surgeons
Our surgeons specialize in state-of-the-art breast cancer surgery, routinely performing the following breast cancer operations: oncoplastic breast conserving surgery, sentinel node biopsy, skin-sparing mastectomy, nipple-sparing mastectomy, partial mastectomy/lumpectomy, simple (total) mastectomy, and modified radical mastectomy (total mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection).
Options for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
For women considering breast reconstruction surgery, understanding options and knowing what to expect are the foundation for good results. We offer the most advanced techniques available today for reconstructing the breast and we will ensure you thoroughly understand all of your treatment options prior to surgery.
High Volume Breast Cancer Surgery Center
Virginia Mason performs hundreds of breast cancer surgeries each year and is considered a high-volume hospital for this reason. Several studies have shown improved outcomes for patients undergoing surgery in a hospital that performs a high volume of cancer surgeries. We also track our outcomes (treatment results) on a regular basis to ensure that the treatment our patients receive is beneficial.
Dedicated Breast Cancer Pathologists
Our knowledge of the biology of breast cancer is constantly changing, and these specially trained physicians use state-of-the-art techniques to analyze every individual breast cancer to help the team determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient. That's precision medicine.
Nationally Accredited Imaging Center
The Breast Imaging Center at Virginia Mason is accredited by the American College of Radiology. Our breast radiologists use state-of-the-art equipment including digital 3D mammography, MRI and high-resolution ultrasound. Additionally, our imaging team is involved in research to improve the use of ultrasound in imaging breast cancer, both for diagnosis and treatment. The team's accomplishments include numerous scientific papers and two breast imaging textbooks.
Specialist in Cancer Genetics
A family history of breast cancer plays a role in up to 10 percent of breast cancers. We offer hereditary cancer risk assessment for breast cancer patients with a personal or family history of cancer.
Dedicated Breast Cancer Conference
We hold weekly multidisciplinary meetings where each patient is discussed by multiple specialists and unique treatment recommendations are made for each patient.
Newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are given coordinated appointments to meet with all of the specialists who will be involved in their care to make a plan for treatment, usually including a breast surgeon, a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and, if needed, a plastic surgeon. These appointments are offered multiple times each week to quickly get patients started on their treatment.
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
Our medical center provides patients with opportunities to participate in many breast cancer and quality-of-life clinical trials. We participate in national, regional and local groups offering clinical trials, including National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), Southwestern Oncology Group (SWOG), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and Puget Sound Oncology Consortium (PSOC).
Patients also benefit from our partnership with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), a world-class research institution that is looking at the causes and cures of autoimmune diseases, and is making those discoveries available to patients through translational (bench to bedside) medicine.
Board Certified Physicians
Since Virginia Mason's founding in 1920, close to 100 percent of physicians on staff have been board certified in their fields. All of the breast cancer physicians are board certified.
Nationally Accredited Cancer Institute
Virginia Mason consistently receives national accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Being designated a Commission on Cancer program also means that patients are provided with comprehensive care close to home from a multidisciplinary team that offers a range of services, equipment, education and support. Patients also receive lifelong follow-up, ongoing monitoring and improvement of care, and information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options.
For the Newly Diagnosed: My Breast Cancer Journey
Every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient receives a personal care journal created by providers at The Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle. This detailed book, prepared by Virginia Mason specialists, explains the many aspects of breast cancer care and what you can expect following treatment.