Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
Breast cancer takes patients down paths they never expected. The GW Comprehensive Breast Center offers a fully integrated road map to navigate the way. Our Center provides multi-disciplinary breast care services for the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer using state-of-the-art technologies unavailable at any other breast center in the Metro Washington, DC, area.
For Mammograms/MRIs: 202.741.3036
For Breast Biopsies: 202.741.3064
Combining state-of-the-art technology with superior medical and surgical care in partnership with The George Washington University Hospital, our Center has been awarded a three-year full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) for providing quality evaluation and management of benign and malignant breast disease.
Our Facility & Services
With an open design and spa-like interior, our Center is a comforting setting for patients to receive comprehensive breast care by our internationally recognized specialists who care only for the breast, including our all-women team of skilled breast surgeons who perform advanced surgical procedures.
As a designated Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology for stereotactic breast therapy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided biopsy, our facility provides patients with access to a full range of advanced breast imaging technology and the latest minimally invasive treatments.
Comprehensive Breast Care Services:
2-D and 3-D Mammography: For women with an average risk of breast cancer Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound: For added clarity necessary with dense breast tissue Molecular Breast Imaging (scintimammography): For newly diagnosed breast cancer
There’s a reason breast cancer patients often hear, “You are not alone.” Breast cancer is the most common cancer, aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, among women in this country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds nearly 203,000 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2007, which is the most recent year numbers are available. For some patients, diagnosis carries an even larger burden—worries that life-saving treatment now might prevent the ability to have a child in the future. Our team of physicians at the Fertility & IVF Center understands those concerns and uses the latest technology to give patients more choices and greater hope than ever before.
Because each patient is different, counseling and treatment is highly-individualized. Options range from shielding ovaries from radiation, to taking proactive measures before chemotherapy could impact fertility. One of the most recent and significant developments for patients involves freezing a woman’s eggs. As opposed to frozen embryos, which also require sperm, eggs can be frozen by any woman to be used at any time.
Another concern of some breast cancer patients is that they don’t want to pass along the same BRCA gene which has affected their lives to their children. Some families closely screen their daughters as they grow, but others don’t want to have that worry consistently looming in the back of their minds. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis evaluates embryos before implantation to ensure they don’t carry the BRCA gene. With this screening, the risk of developing breast cancer becomes equal to that of the general population. That shift can be life-changing for families that have had generation after generation of breast cancer. Dr. David Frankfurter says, “There’s a hope that cancer isn’t something that’s part of their legacy. This is something that can be removed so that families can focus on what they want to pass on to their children.” Our team can provide the information and support to help patients make these important decisions for their own families.
The High Risk Breast Care Clinic at The GW Medical Faculty Associates is offered at GW Hospital in Northwest Washington, DC. This clinic is tailor made for patients at high risk for developing breast cancer because of a known genetic mutation, for non-mutation carriers with a strong family history, and for patients who have had an abnormal breast biopsy.
Dr. Rebecca Kaltman is a medical oncologist specializing in the care of breast cancer patients who says the clinic has been a long-time dream. She’s always had an interest in managing women at high risk for developing breast cancer but found that many patients were so overwhelmed with the recommendations for preventative care that they failed to receive optimal follow-up care. This clinic will provide multi-disciplinary care in one location, thereby eliminating the legwork for patients, and increasing its effectiveness. It is a new model for treatment and a home that high-risk patients can call their own.
Breast cancer surgery focuses on removal of a tumor to cure the disease. But doctors can also help patients get something back—whether peace of mind, physical strength, or, in many cases, the sense of wholeness that comes with reconstruction of a new breast. Our Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center teams up with plastic surgeons at The GW Medical Faculty Associates who specialize in breast reconstruction.
The services they offer include:
When it comes to breast reconstruction, Dr. Joanne Lenert, plastic surgeon, says there’s no one method that’s right for every patient; she likes to work closely with each patient to help her choose what’s best for her. She warns her patients that breast reconstruction is a “process,” but one that can give excellent results. Dr. Lenert takes pride in seeing her patients reach the end of the reconstructive process. In fact, she’s started giving them a certificate to mark the event, telling them, “You don’t have to hang this on the wall, but realize you’ve finished something important.”
It’s no surprise that untreated or excess pain significantly interferes with a person’s recovery after surgery. Paul Dangerfield, MD is director of Clinical Anesthesia at The GW Medical Faculty Associates. He saw breast cancer patients in a lot of pain and thought there had to be a better way to help them through this difficult time. Motivated by those patients, and by his own wife’s experience, Dr. Dangerfield set out to devise a better, less-painful approach. His methodology of choice is the conventional paravertebral block (PVB)—a long-standing local anesthetic approach enjoying a renaissance among breast care patients.
PVB is effective in alleviating pain associated with breast care treatment during procedures ranging from simple biopsies to complex mastectomies with reconstruction. Leading a team of physicians and nurses working in the George Washington University Hospital’s Acute Pain Service, Dr. Dangerfield brings unparalleled pain management expertise to the Comprehensive Breast Care Program at The GW Medical Faculty Associates.
PVB reduces both short and long term pain. This nerve block delivers numbing medication directly to the affected area, and therefore has fewer side effects than stronger, narcotic medications, and it’s long lasting. Patients using PVB report feeling well the day after surgery— though some report experiencing some minor aching and fatigue.
It takes time for patients facing surgery to come up with a list of questions and concerns, have those questions answered, and then feel comfortable about going home with a pump, drains and a catheter, no matter the benefits and the record of success. Still there are distinct benefits for patients who opt to undergo PVB as an option for surgical pain management.
The Comprehensive Breast Care Program at The GW Medical Faculty Associates and the Acute Pain Service at The George Washington University Hospital employ multi-modal pain control strategies which help manage post-operative pain and post-traumatic pain, including:
The Acute Pain Service team consists of attending anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents and registered nurses. The team uses its exceptional range of skills, training, experience and knowledge to evaluate each patient’s needs and develop individualized treatment plans.
Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. When it’s caught early, before it’s had the chance to spread, however, the five-year survival rate for patients is 99%.