Breast Cancer Program
From left to right: Rebecca Pasillas, Ph. D., Sandra Villagran, Rene Vallejo, Sandra Alderete, Zeina Nahleh, M.D., Oscar Perez
Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso
Breast Care Center
4801 Alberta Ave.
El Paso, TX 79905
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Zeina Nahleh, M.D, co-director of the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center (elpaso.ttuhsc.edu/bcc) is a breast cancer expert dedicated to the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
Our nationally accredited breast cancer program (www.napbc-breast.org) is dedicated to providing a unique, comprehensive and integrated care for the diagnosis, treatment, and education of patients with breast cancer as well as conducting clinical research in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer and treatment related side effects. 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 Prevention, Screening and 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 a personalized treatment plan based on national evidence-based guidelines conducted by experts in the field dedicated to 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. Our oncologist and surgeons are specialized in breast cancer. During these tumor board meetings, the current standard national guidelines as well as the latest data on cancer treatment and management are discussed, but more importantly, a plan is formulated and 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.
“You have cancer.” Words that 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. Patients often find themselves in a rapid sequence of office visits and a series of appointments and tests with various specialists. Anxiety can be fueled by concerns about whether their specialists are experienced and 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 TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. 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. Dr. Zeina Nahleh is a recognized expert in breast cancer care and research, and has authored manuscripts and articles in breast cancer-related publications and contributed to cancer textbooks. Dr. Karinn Chambers, a trained breast surgeon recently joined TTUHSC El Paso as the director of the Texas Tech Physicians of El PasonBreast Care Center. She is the only surgeon in El Paso, TX with exclusive fellowship training in breast diseases.
Breast Multidisciplinary Team
Our breast surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, 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.
If you choose to come to our program to get a second opinion, 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 El Paso are required. Our physicians are also happy to communicate their recommendations directly to your treating physicians.
Patient Navigation and Supportive Care
The breast oncology program works closely with University Medical Center which includes a dedicated breast patient navigator among its staff. Patients have access to social workers and care managers dedicated to the care of oncology patients. In addition, the program includes Rose Heydarian, a nurse practioner with special training in oncology who runs the Genetic and Survivors Clinic and works closely with Dr. Zeina Nahleh and the other oncologists to provide cancer care for our patients.
Survivorship Program (elpaso.ttuhsc.edu/bcc)
We are the only cancer facility in the area to establish a survivor's program for breast cancer patients who have completed their active cancer care. This program addresses additional aspects and issues of their after cancer care.
Many cancer patients finish their primary treatment for cancer unaware of their increased health risks and are not well prepared 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 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 national guidelines, e.g., the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's guidelines for survivorship care, and provide a summary of all treatment received, and 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, and osteoporosis
- Health wellness and prevention, smoking and obesity, general care, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and dietary recommendations
- Review of over-the-counter medications and other herbal and nontraditional practices
- Recommendations for screening for recurrence and new primary cancers, including mammogram, pap smears, colonoscopy
- Emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety and fear of recurrence, relaxztion echniques and counseling