breast cancer awareness

 

From left, Dr. Arati C. Patel, Nurse Sandra Cassell-Colbin and Constance Marcum, office manager for the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care in Prince Frederick.

Prince Frederick, MD – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and if you don’t think it applies to you, consider the following: Calvert County has the highest breast cancer rate in the state of Maryland.

The good news is, Southern Maryland is more than prepared to face this startling health challenge.

Thanks to one dedicated specialist at Calvert Memorial Hospital, the Dr. Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care opened in 2010 in the wake of this threat.

Before then, each specific phase of breast cancer from screening to diagnosis to treatment would take place in different areas of the hospital.

“The center brought them all together in a single location,” said Arati C. Patel, hematologist and oncologist at CMH.

A partnership with specialists from Johns Hopkins brought Nagi Khouri to the hospital for breast imaging and diagnostic radiology.

“He’s been here since day one,” Patel said.

It is a new strategy, accented by certified specialists and combined with the latest technology.

Goldberg’s vision, if you will. The late oncologist spent three decades at CMH.

“Dr. Goldberg was beloved by many,” Kasia A. Sweeney, CMH spokesperson said of the center’s founder. “He saw the need. He really raised the bar. He inspired us all to work on providing exceptional care.”

What is most impressive, Sweeney added, is the support of the local community for the center. 

“The community has been very supportive of the center,” she said. “They’ve raised close to $1 million.”

The practice brought in “navigators” to help each patient through the process of confronting a disease, the diagnosis of which can suddenly send their world into a tailspin.

“It’s a very fitting term,” said Nurse Sandra Cassell-Corbin. “The navigator charts the course.”

Another facet of the program is weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings.

“We gather all together to discuss and set the best way to treat each individual patient,” Patel explained.

She said the program follows national guidelines, providing patients with multiple options and developing a treatment plan.

“We learn a lot from each other,” Patel said.

“We also work with patients after their surgery,” Cassell-Corbin explained. “We give them individual therapy. We help them get on with their lives.”

Sweeney said the center sees approximately 84 patients annually.

“We try to create an environment where they trust us,” Patel added. “We continue to be engaged in their health. We want to be part of their lives forever. It’s important to us to develop and build that relationship.”

It also should be noted that men are not excluded from the Center for Breast Care. Men can experience enlarged breasts, benign breast lumps as well as breast cancer.

“We have several male patients,” Patel said.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com