With the addition of the Fast Breast MRI, doctors at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center are finding cancer faster

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Xuan Huang, MD, PhD, is an oncologist with University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center who specializes in breast cancer. The latest addition to the screening technologies is the Fast Breast MRI, a10-minute, supplemental examination that studies have shown to be effective in finding invasive breast cancers. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Ken McEntee

Breast cancer is unique among cancers, says Xuan Huang, MD, PhD, an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center.

“For women especially, it’s more than a diagnosis,” Dr. Huang says. “There are a lot of emotional and psychological aspects involved.”

That’s why the Breast Health Center at UH Geauga Medical Center is focused on making prevention, diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment care as easy and anxiety-free as possible—in an intimate, close-to-home setting. The center’s multidisciplinary team of breast care specialists guides each patient through all levels of treatment—with the help of a nurse navigator who serves as an advocate and educator for patients and their caregivers throughout their cancer care experience.

“After an abnormality is detected during a mammogram, a patient is probably going to feel anxiety,” Dr. Huang says. “A nurse navigator will stay with her to provide comfort and reassurance and walk her through the process. If a biopsy does come back positive for cancer, the nurse navigator will help with setting up treatments and answering questions.”

Because breast cancer is very curable when it is detected early, UH Geauga Medical Center features the latest screening technologies to identify tumors—and to reduce stressful, false positives.

The latest addition to the screening technologies is the Fast Breast MRI, an efficient, 10-minute, self-pay, supplemental examination that scientific studies have shown to be effective in finding invasive breast cancers. The Fast Breast MRI is particularly useful for screening women who have dense breast tissue.

Dr. Huang recommends that women who have a family history of cancer, or who have lumps in their breasts, begin annual mammograms by the age of 40. At the Breast Health Center, all women get digital 3-D tomosynthesis breast screenings, Dr. Huang says.

“Compared to traditional two-dimensional mammograms, tomosynthesis is more accurate in the detection of tumors and decreasing false positives,” she explains.

If an abnormality is detected, an ultrasound scan, which offers a more detailed image inside the breast, is typically scheduled for the same day—potentially eliminating days of worry. A biopsy to confirm cancer also can be done on-site. And if cancer is diagnosed, treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can be done right at the Breast Health Center.

“If you need both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, you can easily finish one and walk to the other,” Dr. Huang said. “We schedule your treatments to be as convenient and stress-free as possible.”

Chemotherapy patients are prepared with educational materials that they can read here or at home—and they always can ask questions of the nurse navigator, the on-site pharmacist or other team members.

After treatment, Dr. Huang assures that the Breast Health Center continues to assist patients. “Treatment is part of the journey,” she says. “Moving on with your life is the next step. We help patients know what to expect and what to watch for. You’ll always be able to contact your doctors when questions come up.”

The Breast Health Center offers other supportive programs, like physical therapy, occupational therapy and lymphedema therapy, and on-site social workers work with patients to manage medication payment options.

The Breast Health Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. You can schedule a breast screening or get more information by calling 440-286-5050, or by visiting UHHospitals.org/locations/uh-geauga-medical-center/services/breast-cancer. University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center is located at 13207 Ravenna Road, in Chardon.