LCOM cancer center offers convenience, comfort, quality

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Lending comfort: Dr. Nancy Taft (left), medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Centers in Evergreen Park, and nurse practitioner Courtney Miller, help breast cancer patients feel as comfortable as possible about their situation. | Supplied photo

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Breast cancer treatment is no enviable experience, but at the new Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers in Evergreen Park it doesn’t have to be an awful one.

Dr. Nancy Taft, the center’s medical director, sees the center as a convenient facility to receive screenings and treatment with the most current technology. Located near the hospital’s women’s imaging center, the facility is convenient for patients and employees who need to visit both areas.

The center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons, meaning it meets strict standards in a variety of areas, including technology, employee education, and patient care. In short, Taft said, the accreditation is an indication of the quality of medical treatment patients will receive when they come to the center.

An accredited facility will mean the best treatment possible. At the Comprehensive Breast Health Center, patients can receive an MRI and biopsy in the same location (most places can’t do both, Taft said), and surgeries that are minimally invasive and preserve as much of the natural breast as possible.

But Taft is equally concerned with the personal treatment of patients. A breast cancer diagnosis is traumatic, but Taft aims to make treatment convenient and even empowering.

“We’re really trying to create a warm, safe atmosphere,” Taft said.

‘In the right place’

Barbara T. Doyle, an Orland Park autism specialist and clinical consultant, was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. Devastated and frightened, she was referred to Taft by her niece, who is also a doctor. Doyle said she felt immediately comfortable at the center.

“I felt like I was in the right place,” she said.

Taft and her staff took time to answer questions, even in the middle of treatment, Doyle said. As she was going into surgery and confessed a fear of anesthesia, for example, Taft took her hand and gently reassured her, giving Doyle the peace of mind she needed to relax. Staff also made accommodations for Doyle’s husband, who is blind and hard of hearing, to make sure he received all the information he needed.

After a short recovery period from her surgery, Doyle began a few months of chemotherapy and radiation. Although she knows these phases of her treatment may be difficult, she feels ready for what’s to come, both during and after treatment.

“Because Dr. Taft got me on the right path quickly, I healed beautifully from the surgery, and I have a very good feeling about what comes next,” she said. “I don’t feel like I have breast cancer. I feel like I had breast cancer.”

Dedicated to her career, Doyle plans to work as much as she can during the course of her treatment and plans to be back full force by 2013. In the meantime, she is planning an educational effort for young women about the importance of self-examinations.

The center will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 14. Visitors will be able to tour areas normally closed to non-patients, and there will be giveaways. On Oct. 25, Taft will host a mock “tumor board” event, in which the public will get a behind-the-scenes look at how physicians make treatment recommendations.

More information about the breast health center is available at www.lcmh.org.