Multiple Breast Cancer Experts in One Setting
For women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, a second opinion may confirm what their physician has already recommended. Or, it may open their eyes to new possibilities. In any case, a second opinion can offer peace of mind during a turbulent time.
The Breast Cancer Consult Clinic at Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls offers the opinions of an entire team of breast cancer experts – at one setting.
The Breast Cancer Consult Clinic gives patients the rare opportunity to meet with and receive personalized treatment recommendations from a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and breast surgeon – all in one visit.
How a Second Opinion Consultation Works
Prior to the consultation, one of Avera’s breast health navigators works to gather all of the patient’s relevant medical records.
“The days and weeks after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming time,” recognizes Nancy Terveen, BC, FNP, Avera Cancer Institute breast health navigator. “It’s nice that we can help by taking care of all of the records and setting up the appointments.”
Next, the woman’s case is presented at Avera’s weekly Breast Cancer Conference. During this time, a multidisciplinary team reviews the case and discusses the best treatment options. This takes place on the same day as the consultation so it’s fresh on the physicians’ minds when they meet with her.
The day of the consultation starts at 8 a.m. and typically lasts until noon. Patients can meet with each physician separately for up to an hour – offering plenty of time to learn about their recommendations, ask questions and get to know them.
Patients also learn about a variety of cancer support services, including:
“Every day, our providers work together as a cohesive, multidisciplinary team, doing what’s best for each individual patient,” says Terveen. “We’ve designed this clinic so patients can benefit from an entire group of experts – not just one person’s opinion.”
Benefits of a Second Opinion
Terveen describes how the clinic has helped younger patients with more aggressive forms of breast cancer learn that they were a good candidate for chemotherapy before surgery.
“Not all cancer centers offer neoadjuvant chemotherapy so it’s an option that patients may only learn about after coming in for a second opinion,” she describes. “At Avera, we strive to stay on top of the latest in cancer research. Without a second opinion, patients may not realize they could be a candidate for clinical trials or intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).”
A second opinion can also relieve some of the anxiety that a cancer diagnosis may bring.
“If you have any doubts or wonder if there’s something else that can be done to treat your cancer, you should definitely get a second opinion,” she says. “When you’re empowered with information and support, it’ll help you feel better, more prepared to make the best decision for you and more confident in your decision.”
“Don’t worry about what anyone else will think,” she adds. “As a patient, you’re the priority. Make sure the treatment route you choose provides the best possible outcome for you.”
For more information about the Breast Cancer Consult Clinic, or to make an appointment, call 605-322-3809.