Working with the BREAST CARE TEAM
As an accredited breast center, we can provide all the services needed for comprehensive care for the patient with a breast concern. For those without a specific diagnosis, we facilitate a prompt and straightforward approach to finding the answer to the problem. For those with breast cancer, we have multidisicplinary medical care as well as supportive care as needed. We work as a center without walls, providing care within Bellingham as well as obtaining second and third opinions from other communities, primarily Seattle.
We provide services from: a) early diagnosis with imaging as needed including options of mammography, ultrasound, Breast-MRI, BSGI, CT and PET scans, to b) risk analysis with genetic counseling and testing, to c) treatment with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, targeted therapies and immune therapy, to d) supportive care with counseling, physical therapy, and lymphatic massage. We have access to the entire spectrum of care necessary for the individual patient.
Today women with breast cancer typically live their full lives. For that and other reasons we provide Oncoplastic Breast Surgery to return the surgical site to look close to normal. We mobilize surrounding tissue to recreate a normal contour and appearance. Although not all evidence of surgery can be removed, we have markedly improved the cosmetic appearance of our breast cancer patients.
Services offered directly by the Bellingham Regional Breast Center:
- Clinical Breast Examination (Physician examination of the breast)
- Breast Ultrasound (sound wave examination of the breast. This can find lumps than cannot be felt and uses no radiation.)
- Needle biopsy (rather than surgical biopsy. After a local anesthetic, we use the smallest needles possible to obtain an accurate biopsy.)
a) Palpable (when a lump can be felt, a small needle biopsy can be accurately performed using local anesthetic)
b) Non-palpable ultrasound guided (when a lump cannot be felt, ultrasound accurately identifies the lump and allows a small needle biopsy without disturbance.)
- Pathology Testing and Examination
a) Pathologists from Northwest Pathologists examine all tissue with state-of-the-art techniques
b) Outside pathologists are enlisted when difficult diagnostic tissues are found.
- Surgical Care
a) Surgical Breast Biopsy (rarely the lump requires removal without an initial needle biopsy)
b) Lumpectomy (when a tumor needs to be removed with a small margin of normal tissue surrounding the lump.)
c) Cryosurgery for breast cancer (an ACOSOG clinical trial)
d) Oncoplastic mastectomy (removing the entire breast using plastic surgical techniques to improve the overall cosmetic outcome along with curing the disease.)
e) Mastectomy (the entire breast is removed for extensive breast cancer.)
f) Immediate Reconstruction (when mastectomy is needed, we associate with Plastic Surgeons to perform the first stage of reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy.) Recontruction may be in the form of an implant or a flap including TRAM flaps, DIEP flaps, Free flaps and other specialized flaps as dictated by the situation.
- Coordinated Treatment with
a) Radiation Therapists including partial breast irradiation
b) Medical Oncologists including targeted therapies and coordination with Seattle second opinions
d) Physical Therapists
- Psychosocial Support
b) Individual sessions
- High risk counseling and Genetic Testing – family pedigree evaluation and offering next-gen genetic testing when clinically appropriate