Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care
At Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care, we provide expert service when it comes to diagnosis, surgery and long-term follow-up care for breast cancer and other breast diseases. We can help with:
- Breast surgery
- Genetic testing if there's a family history of breast disease
- Abnormal mammograms
- Education, screening and treatment
- Long-term monitoring and follow-up care
- Special considerations for patients at high risk for breast cancer
Contact Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care
Receive expert diagnosis, surgery and long-term follow-up care for breast cancer and other breast conditions at Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care. You can reach us at:
Our dedicated team has more than 30 years of experience in breast surgery and treatment. Our surgeons and physicians are supported by a team of registered nurses and radiologists with extensive training and capabilities. Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care is a department of Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.
Discover more reasons to choose Avera for all of your breast care needs.
Breast Cancer Screening
Take advantage of the latest in breast cancer screening at Avera such as 3D and digital mammography and the Videssa® Breast blood test. Videssa is the first blood test on the market that is specifically used for the detection of breast cancer. When used in conjunction with breast imaging tests, it can reduce the need for breast biopsy by up to 67 percent.
Advanced Breast Surgery
Lumpectomy is also called partial mastectomy or breast-conserving therapy (BCT). This is surgery to remove breast cancer or other lump in the breast, along with some surrounding tissue. A lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or both. Women usually do not need breast reconstruction after lumpectomy. It can have the same cure rate as mastectomy.
With oncoplasty, the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon communicate and collaborate right from the start. They consider the extent of cancer surgery needed, the patient’s breast size and shape, and potential reconstruction techniques so the breasts will match. The result is an artful blend of plastic surgery and complete cancer removal. It aims to provide the most favorable cosmetic outcome with optimal control in the treatment of breast cancer.
Innovative Breast Cancer Procedures
Electron-based IntraOperative Radiation Therapy
Avera is one of eight cancer centers in the U.S. using electron-based intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). We can treat the tumor during surgery, which may reduce or eliminate the need for radiation afterward. Best of all, you can feel and look like yourself again sooner.
At the same time of lumpectomy, the radiation oncologist directs the radiation dose directly to the area where the tumor used to be. This immediate treatment of tumor site helps kill cancer cells before they can spread.
IORT, an option for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, can either shorten the course of whole breast radiation therapy or eliminate the need for additional radiation therapy after surgery. Plus, direct treatment to the tumor site means less exposure to healthy tissue and skin.
L-DEX for Early Diagnosis of Lymphedema
Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid builds up under the skin, causing tightness and swelling. It can develop after lymph nodes are removed or damaged during breast cancer treatment. Lymphedema can cause pain, reduced mobility, impaired function and recurring infection. L-DEX is non-invasive technology that monitors changes in the lymph fluid before symptoms can be felt. L-DEX analysis allows the physician to be proactive with treatment before long-term damage occurs.
In the past, Delores Zonnefeld of Sioux Center, Iowa, had experienced abnormal mammograms and biopsies, and they always turned out to be nothing. So she was shocked at the news that two spots detected during her mammogram and follow-up ultrasound were likely cancerous. This was confirmed by a biopsy performed at the Avera Breast Center in Sioux Falls.
The next step was to find a surgeon. Delores had heard good recommendations for Avera Medical Group Comprehensive Breast Care. She called to schedule an appointment with the first available surgeon, which was Dr. Tricia Merrigan. Her husband, Garry, went with Delores to the first appointment.
On the day of surgery Dr. Merrigan took the time to talk with Delores' family about their questions and concerns. Surgery went well, and it appeared that Delores' cancer was contained to the tumor site. Yet the routine biopsy of lymph nodes showed an abnormality.
Dr. Merrigan was surprised and disappointed to hear of a possible spread to the lymph nodes, and she shared these feelings at Avera’s multidisciplinary breast conference. Other breast specialists and pathologists took Dr. Merrigan's feelings seriously, and recommended that the lymph nodes be retested at a specialized lab in Tennessee. It turned out Delores has an extremely rare condition that is indeed abnormal, yet benign.
"Dr. Merrigan is so skilled, and she did an amazing job with my surgery. She was always so helpful. It was not unusual for Dr. Merrigan to call me herself to see how I was doing. The care of Dr. Merrigan and her nurse Michelle was a blessing for us."
Typically, Patty Larson of Sioux Falls would not put much stock into psychics, and it was all in fun when her daughter decided to visit a psychic’s booth at a county fair. The psychic said many things – some things that never came to pass and some that were a good guess. Yet Patty's daughter was also told to warn her mother to see a doctor about a life-threatening condition.
Patty believes God used the cryptic message to get her attention. "It had been over a year since my last mammogram," so Patty decided to schedule her annual screening right away. Yet it was still a shock when she was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer.
"It is such a whirlwind when you get a cancer diagnosis."
"Up to this point, I felt like I needed to be the strong one, and hadn't shown any emotion. I told my husband and kids that a lot of women have this, and that I would be fine," Patty related. "When I saw Dr. Dosch, he was so calm, compassionate, caring and soft-spoken, I felt I had permission to cry for the first time."
Dr. Dosch explained all the options in great detail, listened carefully to her concerns and fears, and encouraged her to call with any additional questions. "He's such a kind, compassionate person. He cares about you, your family and how breast cancer is affecting your daily life." After her successful breast surgery, Patty was surprised that Dr. Dosch even continued to see her at follow-up appointments every six months for two years.
Patty says the term "cancer survivor" doesn't define her – yet she wears a pink bracelet as a reminder of her experience. And her bout with cancer has changed her outlook on life. A coffee mug in her office says it all – "I didn't survive cancer to die of stress." She's taking more time to enjoy the journey – which still includes a few county fairs each summer. Not so much to visit psychics, but to show animals with her kids.
Excellent Career & Volunteer Opportunities
Join Avera, the Upper Midwest's health care leader, for an inspiring and exciting career. Search the possibilities below:
Avera also offers many classes for health care professionals and other opportunities for health care professionals, including programs for pharmacy residency, radiologic technology and emergency medical services.