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Internal Medicine Department

The Hematology - Oncology Division

Breast Cancer Program

The Breast Oncology Program in the division of Hematology Oncology is led by Dr Nahleh, a breast cancer expert dedicated solely to the treatment and prevention of Breast Cancer. Our Breast Cancer program is dedicated to providing a unique, comprehensive and integrated care for the diagnosis, treatment, and education of patients with breast cancer as well as developing clinical research dedicated to the prevention, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer.  Our care is backed by the latest research findings and we continually search for newer and better methods. The Breast Oncology Program provides the most advanced cancer care in:

  • Breast Cancer Prevenction, Screening & Detection

  • Breast Cancer Treatment

  • Social workers/Support groups

  • Genetic Counseling: The Breast oncology program offers a cancer genetic risk assessment program for people whose cancer might have a hereditary component

  • Multidisciplinary Breast Tumor Board: Our biweekly meetings provide personalized treatment plan based on national evidence-based guidelines conducted by experts in the field dedicated towards breast cancer.  Multidisciplinary teams are the backbone of cancer clinical care. Presentations regarding patients are made at patient management conferences as well as educational conferences, where everybody is in the same room at the same time looking at radiology films reviewed by a radiologist, and having pathologist interpret biopsies. Our oncologist and surgeons are specialized in breast cancer. During these tumor board meetings, they all discuss the current standard national guidelines as well as the latest data on cancer treatment and management; but more importantly formulate a plan that would be individualized for that specific patient, taking into consideration the patient's wishes and personal circumstances. our team provides prospective evaluation and recommendations for diagnosis and therapy that are promptly executed.

  • Second Opinions: “You have cancer”. One word can turn your whole world upside down. The first reaction is often "I want to do the very best I can". However, the typical scenario would be hearing an array of unfamiliar terms, and embarking on an unfamiliar journey. The patients often find themselves in a rapid sequence of office visits, a series of appointments and tests with various specialists. Anxiety can be fueled by concerns whether their specialists are experienced and communicating,   whether they are on top of the latest research findings and have immediate access to the latest available cancer drugs and therapies. Cancer is complex and new knowledge is continually accumulating. Our Breast Oncologists are also faculty members at the Texas Tech University HSC and the Paul Foster School of Medicine.  Because they teach at a leading medical school and engage in numerous cancer-related research programs, they are among the best in the field.  Our physicians are leaders in multiple ongoing grant-funded scientific investigation programs relating to cancer and participate in numerous clinical trials involving the latest cancer therapies. Our director, Dr Nahleh, is recognized locally,  and nationally as an expert in breast cancer care and research, and has authored manuscripts and articles in breast cancer-related publications and contributed to cancer textbooks.

    Our Breast Multidisciplinary Team which includes 2 renowned breast surgeons, 2 oncologists, a radiation oncologist, a nurse practitioner, certified nurses, breast radiologists and pathologists thrive on collaboration and share a passion to make your cancer ordeal as manageable as possible and to eliminate possible doubt about your care.

    When you chose to get a second opinion in our breast cancer program, our team makes arrangements for you to come for a visit as quickly as possible, often the same week. Our team’s first  focus is on making sure your diagnostic information is current and complete. The entire team then reviews the diagnostic information and makes a recommendation for your care that reflects the latest thinking from all of the various specialties. Most often, cancer care can be administered in the community where you live. Sometimes the services of a highly specialized team such as the Multidisciplinary  Breast Team at TTUHSC are required. Our physicians are also happy to communicate their recommendations directly to your treating physicians.

  • Complementary & Supportive Care: The Breast Oncology Program includes Rose Heydarian, ACNP among its staff. Rose is a certified oncology nurse practitioner dedicated to the care of oncology patients. In addition, Rose has received a special training in Complementary and Integrative therapy, She runs the "Survivors Clinic", and works closely with Dr. Nahleh and the other oncologist to provide cancer care for the patients.

  • Survivorship Program: We are the only cancer facility in the area to establish a "Survivor's Clinic"  for breast cancer patients who completed their active cancer care in order to address additional aspects and issues of their "after cancer" care. Many cancer patients finish their primarily treatment for cancer unaware of their increased health risks and are not well prepare to manage their future health care needs. Also, recommended follow-up care is often not delivered and their psychosocial needs are often not addressed. Our "Survivor's Clinic" is staffed by an advanced nurse practice nurse practitioner with specific training in oncology as well as integrative medicine. She is helped by a breast medical oncologist, a social worker, and medical assistants.  We implement the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's guidelines for survivorship care including developing: 1) A summary of all treatment received, 2)  A possible clinical course, including timing of excepted long term treatment consequences, 3) Surveillance recommendations, In addition we address the following:

 

-Ongoing and late side effects of treatment, ranging from neuropathy and chronic pain to fatigue, hot flashes, osteoporosis, dental referral for patients on bisphosphonates, sexual side effects, infertility and other              

-Health, wellness and prevention

-Smoking and obesity reduction.

-General care (HTN, DM, Cholesterol....)

-Dietary recommendations and review of consumption of over-the counter medications and other herbal and nontraditional practices

-Screening for recurrence and new primary cancers: Mammogram, Pap Smears, Colonoscopy, CT (smokers)

-Emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety and fear of recurrence-Relaxation techniques, counseling

-Financial and family concerns

-Genetic counseling – Revisit Family History (for high risk)

-Plan for a Future Fitness/ exercise initiatives

 
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