Breast Cancer Surgery Clinic

At Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, our team of breast cancer specialists focus only on breast cancer patients. This means that they are highly experienced in breast cancer. Our surgery group works closely with both the Breast Care Clinic and the Breast Cancer Clinic.

Every week, our team of specialists meet to discuss patients and determine the best treatment for each patient. By bringing together breast specialists from different fields of medicine, we can offer patients the best care possible.

The records for every breast cancer patient are presented at a weekly team meeting. All the members of the breast care team are present:

  • Breast surgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists

As a group, we determine the best options for each individual case and start working with the patient to develop a treatment plan that will fit their particular breast cancer and lifestyle.

How the Process Works

If the patient has been recently diagnosed, found a lump in a breast, or needs help understanding an irregular mammogram, the best place to start is with our nurse navigator. The nurse will review the patient’s records and make arrangements for them to see a breast surgeon and any other specialists based on their particular needs.

The nurse navigator will be the patient’s primary contact, helping to ensure that they understand their diagnosis, connecting them with different members of the medical team, and helping them find other services such as support groups and survivor programs.

Although same day appointments are possible, most patients are seen within 3-5 days, giving us time to receive and review all records and coordinate any additional appointments.

After being evaluated, the patient’s case will be discussed during a team meeting where the care team will suggest the best course of treatment. Our dedicated breast pathologist is present at our team meetings. If you had tests done outside of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, we review those studies to confirm the diagnosis. Both the patient and their doctor will work together to make the final decision. Treatments typically start within 1-3 weeks after the first visit.

Breast Imaging

American College of Radiology—Breast Imaging Center of Excellence badgeAn essential part of ensuring we are giving the patient the best treatment possible involves the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. The imaging team will check your diagnosis using mammography, ultrasounds, MRI, and image-guided biopsies.

For more information on 3D mammography, please visit our 3D Mammography Clinic.

Whole Breast Ultrasound

More than 40 percent of all women have dense breast tissue. For women with dense breasts, we offer whole breast ultrasound. Studies show that mammography and ultrasound performed together can find more cancers in women with dense breast tissue.

Possible Treatment Options

It is important to remember that no two cancers are the same. Each patient is an individual whose case is reviewed by our team of specialists as the unique case it is.

In some cases, we use Intraoperative Radiation Therapy, a combination of both surgery and radiation treatments.

Patients who require surgery as the first line of treatment can usually expect to be scheduled within 2-3 weeks, depending on whether they need to have a plastic surgeon present to perform reconstruction. Chemotherapy, if necessary, can be expected to start within 1-2 weeks of consultation.

Honored to be a 2018 Fan of the Year Winner

During her treatment for breast cancer, Traci McCausland says: “Coach Fran and Margaret McCaffery were incredibly supportive of us, as this obviously hit close to home given their son Patrick’s cancer battle. We were so grateful for the support from the entire Iowa Athletic Department and UI Center for Advancement,” she says.

The Coaches Fan of the Year award, which includes winners from the state’s universities, is made possible through the generosity of Dale and Marilyn Howard of Iowa Falls. “The award was extra special to my parents, Dick and Janet Winder,” Traci says, “because I grew up next door to the Howard family.”

Traci says she shares the Fan of the Year award with her care team from the University’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I’ll be forever grateful to Dr. Sneha Phadke, Dr. Sonia Sugg, and Dr. Tom Lawrence and their support teams for helping us navigate the scariest time of our lives with such honesty, insightfulness, and world-class research and medical treatments.”

Information and Support for Patients

One of our main goals is to ensure that each patient has a clear understanding of the role and members of their healthcare team. Not only do we have breast social workers, who are available for patients in need of social support and resources, but we also have a representative from the American Cancer Society which has a number of programs for breast cancer patients.

For patients who want additional support, we have several strategies to contribute:

Interactive book
Each interested visitor receives a book with breast cancer information and treatment options.
Bosom Buddies yoga
Bosom Buddies is a local support group that sponsors a yoga class for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Breast cancer support group
Holden Comprehensive Care Center hosts a private, online message board that is intended for use by past and present breast cancer patients.
Counseling services
The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Clinic has a Behavioral Oncology Clinic that specializes in psychological and emotional support of cancer patients.

Care Team