Mary Elizabeth Lobrano, M.D. and Carol Anne Luttrell, M.D.Since opening its doors in 2002, the EJGH Breast Care Center has built a reputation for excellent, personalized service, state of-the-art technology and physician expertise. Offering mammography, ultrasound, breast MRI (in the nearby Yenni pavillion) and image-guided breast procedures, the center is a comprehensive, full-service facility.

The center was one of the first adopters of digital mammography in the region, installing their first unit in 2002. "We believed in the potential of digital mammography, even before the results of the large-scale clinical trials were published," states Breast Care Center director Dr. Carol Anne Luttrell. Today, many advantages of digital mammography are evident, including higher cancer detection rates in younger and pre/perimenopausal patients as well as women with dense breasts. The technology lowers patient radiation exposure, decreases the time required for performance of procedures, allows online image storage preventing film loss/damage and enables physicians to review the images online. The center's commitment to providing the best technology for breast imaging continues in ultrasound; recently purchased ultrasound equipment includes an elastography module.

"Elastography has been the subject of numerous articles in the scientific literature," explains mammographer Dr. Dan Fertel. "The concept is that benign breast lesions are more compressible than cancers; this compressibility can be quantified during the ultrasound exam to help guide decisions as to whether or not a biopsy is indicated." Center physicians have been involved in a clinical trial of Positron Emission Mammography, and have authored a peer-reviewed journal article detailing their experience with breast MRI as well.

"We're proud of our technology, " notes Breast Care Center supervisor Dawn Hymel, "but patients need more than technology--they need warm, personalized care." The center's nurse navigators are directly involved with all patients with abnormal breast imaging studies, and help guide them through the testing and/or course of treatment determined by their physicians. "If there's an abnormal mammogram, our breast care nurses initiate immediate follow-up, coordinate further diagnostics or a biopsy, and --if a diagnosis of breast cancer is established--provide support through all aspects of care for the patient and her family," says Luttrell. Nurse navigators also handle record transfers and other essentials for patients who are referred to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, with which EJGH is affiliated. By providing breast-specific medical and nursing care, EJGH already meets national credentialing requirements due to take effect in 2015.

Newly diagnosed breast cancers are discussed at a bimonthly multidisciplinary conference, at which time imaging and pathology results are correlated, and treatment options are discussed. Experts in radiation therapy, breast surgery, pathology, radiology and medical oncology provide input. This approach allows the exchange of knowledge from the various specialties to craft the best treatment plan for the patient.

For scheduling, please call (504) 454-4164. The Breast Care Center nurse navigators may be reached at (504) 883-8989.