A Promise to Keep
Imagine someone you love discovers a lump in her breast. She schedules a mammogram, but has to wait several days before getting her results, which show an abnormality. Her doctor schedules an ultrasound, which confirms the presence of a tumor, and a few days later, she has a biopsy. And then, she waits in anxious uncertainty for a week or more, knowing she has a tumor, fearing that it is cancerous, hoping that it is not.
Until 2008, that was the common experience for breast cancer patients in northwest Georgia, but that changed with the opening of The Breast Center at Floyd. Thanks to the diligent work of Dr. Paul Brock, Dr. Stephen Hom, Dr. Daniel Phillips and Dr. Dee Russell, breast health patients no longer have to endure an agonizing wait of days or even weeks before learning whether their tumor is cancerous.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it marks the 10th anniversary of The Breast Center at Floyd. It is the collaborative work of these physicians, each an expert in his respective field, that established the protocols and procedures that now ensure most patients who have a mammogram or a breast biopsy have results within 24 hours.
Over the past 10 years The Breast Center’s Know in 24 promise has accelerated and enhanced the care provided to breast patients:
- 163,000 mammograms have been performed with results delivered within 24 hours.
- 4,300 patients received results from breast biopsies within 24 hours.
- About 3,000 patients learned within 24 hours that they did not have breast cancer.
- And, unfortunately, approximately 1,300 patients were told they had breast cancer within 24 hours of their biopsies.
Before The Breast Center opened, time between mammograms, diagnostics and treatment was as much as two months. These physician leaders believed that was unacceptable.
Creating an environment where women could get an accurate diagnosis within 24 hours seemed daunting in 2008. But Dr. Russell, who was the Chief Medical Officer at Floyd Medical Center at the time, coordinated with Dr. Brock, of Harbin Clinic general surgery, Dr. Hom, of SouthEastern Pathology, and Dr. Phillips, of Rome Radiology Group, to spearhead the effort to make it possible for patients of The Breast Center.
The teamwork was significant in that it required the different specialties to change the processes and timelines that were routine to their respective practices. The physicians and those who work with them collaborated to achieve a timely goal that was best for their patients.
Ten years later, their work to provide results within 24 hours has become the standard of care for The Breast Center, reducing the wait for patients and quickly providing peace of mind for thousands more.