A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming. Not only does it impact your physical health, but absorbing the information and navigating through what can be a complex treatment process can take a toll on your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, too.
At Mercy Health System, we have gathered a team of experts experienced at diagnosing, treating, and helping you recover from breast cancer. What’s more, our physicians, nurses, technicians and spiritual care providers form an interconnected support system to help you and your family through every step of the way.
Along your cancer treatment journey, you will get to know many members of your breast health team. These professionals represent the full continuum of breast care and may include:
Mercy Health System breast surgeons are fellowship-trained, having accomplished the most advanced and most extensive training in breast cancer diagnosis, patient education, and breast surgery.
Our breast surgeons are proficient in performing multiple procedures specific to the breast and surrounding lymph nodes, including: fine needle aspiration, cyst aspiration, breast biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, skin and nipple sparing mastectomy, chest wall resection, sentinel lymph node dissection, and axillary lymph node dissection. Our breast surgeons also work in collaboration with plastic surgeons in order to ensure the best possible cosmetic outcomes.
Breast Nurse Navigators
A specialized breast nurse navigator is available within the radiology department at the Mercy Breast Health Center at Mercy Suburban Hospital. The breast nurse navigator helps women with breast-related questions and problems, teaches MammaCare Breast Self-Examination lessons, and support women when they are told by the radiologist that they need to see a breast surgeon. The breast nurse navigator also works within the community, particularly with primary care physician offices and group residences to help promote breast health and cancer screening.
Cancer Nurse Navigators
Mercy Health System cancer nurse navigators are nurses certified in oncology nursing. They work one-on-one with you and your family or caregivers to coordinate treatment and address your needs. Our cancer nurse navigators offer a wealth of information and support, including helping you schedule appointments, arranging transportation to and from appointments, working through financial issues, providing education, and leading support groups. In many ways, our cancer nurse navigators are your main point of contact during your cancer treatment journey.
Clinical Trials and Research Nurses
The role of our clinical trials and research nurses at Mercy Health System is to make sure trials run smoothly and are conducted in your best interest, should you decide to participate in one. Our nurses will work with you and your physicians on determining which trial is most appropriate for you. Once you are in a trial, they facilitate communication between all the clinicians and staff members involved and will follow up with you regularly.
For some women, their gynecologist is their first line of healthcare. Our gynecologists at Mercy Health System are experienced providers of women’s healthcare and have had a long-standing commitment to caring for the women in our communities. From providing education on breast cancer prevention and performing clinical breast exams to managing the unique gynecological needs of breast cancer survivors, our gynecologists work closely with you and your oncology physicians for follow-up care and monitoring.
A hematologist/oncologist is a physician specialized in the treatment of diseases of the blood and blood cancers, as well as treatment of tumors. At Mercy Health System, our team of board-certified hematologists/oncologists includes those who specialize in the treatment and research of breast cancer. They develop the appropriate course of treatment for you after consulting with you, your breast surgeon, pathologist, radiologist and radiation oncologist. If chemotherapy treatment is appropriate, it will be administered by your hematologist/oncologist.
Oncology Social Worker
The Mercy Cancer Center at Mercy Suburban Hospital offers the services of a specialized oncology social worker. The oncology social worker is available to patients and families throughout their cancer treatment. Services include family and group counseling, education, advocacy, discharge planning, case management and program development.
If you require radiation therapy for breast cancer, your treatments will be overseen by one of our expert radiation oncologists. The radiation oncologists at Mercy Health System use the most innovative radiation therapies to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer after surgery. They collaborate with your hematologist/oncologist, radiologist and breast surgeon to deliver the most effective treatment as quickly and comfortably as possible.
Radiologists are physicians who specialize in interpreting the results of diagnostic imaging, such as mammography, breast ultrasound and breast MRI. Mercy Health System radiologists include those fellowship trained in breast imaging. In addition to interpreting the majority of breast imaging studies, these experts also perform interventional breast procedures.
Your treatment for breast cancer will inevitably require several appointments at your physician offices. During these visits, you will become familiar with many members of our office staff, from the receptionists and administrative personnel to medical assistants and nurses. Mercy Health System takes great pride in employing the most compassionate professionals dedicated to providing you with excellent service at all times.
Pathologists are physicians who examine tissues (i.e. tissues taken during a biopsy) and interpret the results of lab tests to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer. They are a vital member of your healthcare team and are committed to providing a fast and accurate pathology report. This report is used by your team of physicians to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
Physical and Occupational Therapists
Your physician may recommend you for physical and/or occupational therapy after you have completed breast cancer treatment. Mercy Health System physical and occupational therapists are available both on an inpatient and an outpatient setting to help you regain maximum level of function after surgery and treatment. Our therapists will customize a rehabilitation program to address your specific needs and goals. Certified lymphedema treatment is also available to manage and prevent swelling after breast cancer surgery.
When appropriate, plastic surgeons collaborate with breast surgeons on achieving the best possible cosmetic outcome during breast surgery. Plastic surgeons at Mercy Health System specialize in breast reconstruction surgery that can restore your natural appearance and symmetry.
Spiritual Care Staff
Spiritual care is a vital component of the healing process for patients at Mercy Health System. Our chaplains offer pastoral care and counseling to patients and their families. Masses are regularly held at our hospitals and prayers/reflections are often broadcasted in the mornings and evenings. You may request to speak with a member of our Spiritual Care Department. In addition, our staff can help contact your minister, rabbi or priest at your request.
Medical technologists are essential members of your breast care team. At Mercy Health System, these professionals include mammography and other imaging technicians who perform diagnostic tests, as well as radiation oncology technicians who administer radiation therapy treatments.
Contact one of our Nurse Navigators to assist you in assembling the right team and resources for you and your family. See the Contact List to the right for phone numbers or call 1.877.GO MERCY.