Beyond Breast Care

Compassionate clinicians help breast cancer patients heal at Scripps Clinic and Scripps Green Hospital

An older woman seated on a couch receives a warm hug from a younger woman in an attractive living room setting

Fayenola Landsman has held many roles in her lifetime. The 67-year-old is a wife, mother, grandmother, lifelong figure skater and former magazine editor. Recently, she found herself in yet another capacity — one she never expected.

Landsman became a patient at the Scripps Clinic Breast Care Center, receiving care for an aggressive form of breast cancer that requires a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“Although my initial diagnosis was terribly frightening, the breast care center staff have helped alleviate my fears and worries – not by sugarcoating their answers, but with honesty and kindness,” said Landsman. “My experience with Scripps Clinic can be summed up in three words: care, competence and compassion.”

Comprehensive care for patients with breast cancer

The Breast Care Center provides prompt, comprehensive care for patients with breast cancer and other high-risk and benign breast disorders. Upon receiving their diagnosis, patients are seen by a member of the breast care team within 48 hours of referral.

From there, each patient works with a breast care navigator, an oncology nurse who helps facilitate tests, appointments and access to educational and support services.

Depending on each patient’s diagnosis, she (or he) is seen by one or more specialists dedicated to breast care, including breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, registered nurse practitioners and plastic surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction.

Other available services include in-office biopsies and ultrasounds, genetic testing for high-risk patients, breast cancer support groups and access to breast cancer clinical trials.

“I know I’m one of many patients, but my nurses and doctors make me feel special,” Landsman says. “I never feel rushed, and all of my sessions have ended with a hug. I sing the praises of everyone who has cared for me.”

Laurene Staples agrees. The 85-year-old retired teacher credits her Scripps Clinic caregivers for her diagnosis and timely treatment.

“I’ve always had a yearly mammogram, but for some reason I didn’t get around to scheduling it this year,” she says. “Luckily the nurse practitioner in my gynecologist’s office discovered the lump while performing a breast examination, and from there I was immediately referred to the Breast Care Center for evaluation.”

Committed, compassionate breast care expertise

Staples said she would definitely recommend the Breast Care Center because of the caring and empathetic staff.

“All of the people I’ve encountered, including my radiologists, breast surgeon, and radiation oncologist, have been warm and supportive,” she says. “Even the receptionists remembered me by name after only one visit.”

“For most women, finding out they have breast cancer is a devastating beginning to a long and sometimes difficult journey,” says Pamela Kurtzhals, MD, a board certified surgeon dedicated to breast surgery.

“What distinguishes the Scripps Clinic Breast Care Center is the depth and breadth of services offered, combined with our team of specialists dedicated to breast care. No matter what leg of the journey our patients happen to be on, whether it’s the initial diagnosis or radiation therapy or breast reconstruction, they are provided the medical care — and just as importantly, the emotional support — they need to get through this and keep moving forward.”

What this philosophy provides to patients like Landsman is confidence, not only in the care she’s receiving but in the knowledge that no matter what lies ahead, someone — whether it’s her husband of 45 years or her favorite nurse practitioner from the Breast Care Center — will be at her side.

Clinicians specializing in breast care are available at Scripps Clinic facilities in Carmel Valley, Encinitas, Rancho Bernardo and Torrey Pines.