A diagnosis of breast cancer often follows roller coaster Full of emotions. In addition to concerns about treatment, there are questions about the future. As an oncology surgeon in Mama Outpatient Clinic at Groeneheart Hospital Eugenie Linthorst believes breast cancer is becoming increasingly treatable. “We are now detecting breast cancer much earlier.”
October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Eugenie explains why this is important. “This month is a great time to let people know where they can go if they discover abnormalities in their breasts. Awareness is important, but also to spread the word breast cancer “It’s becoming increasingly treatable.”
Early detection saves lives
One of the keys to success in the fight against breast cancer is early detection. The oncology surgeon at the Grüne Hart Hospital emphasizes the importance of the population survey, where women aged 50 to 75 years are invited for a mammogram every two years.
“This compares images taken in previous years, so that changes can be detected early,” she says. “If abnormalities are found, the population survey refers patients to an outpatient breast clinic.”
Each year, Eugenie and her colleagues treat about 300 patients with breast cancer. What sets Mamma Outpatient Clinic apart from Groene Hart Hospital is the way they look at patient care as a whole.
“We reversed the traditional process,” Eugenie explains. “If a radiologist suspects a diagnosis of breast cancer, breast surgeons are consulted immediately. Biopsy results and further treatment plan will follow within a few days. In most cases, the patient first goes to a radiologist for examination.
If nothing is visible, a biopsy is performed: taking a small piece of tissue that researchers view under a microscope. This fast process ensures that patients get a result as quickly as possible and can look forward.
One permanent point of contact
In the first conversation, each patient is connected to a case manager, a breast care nurse Outpatient breast clinic. This person provides psychosocial support and is the constant point of contact throughout the entire process, from diagnosis to surgery and aftercare. This personal approach is reassuring and extremely important in a period of uncertainty.
Groene Hart Hospital has all the necessary facilities for diagnosis and treatment, including surgery and systemic therapy. This means that patients do not have to be referred to other hospitals, resulting in personalized care.
Higher chances of survival due to better screening
Nowadays, one in six women is diagnosed with breast cancer. This number is increasing partly due to improved offerings. “In mammograms we see abnormalities as small as five millimetres. This way we can remove small tumors more quickly, which we may not have seen for ten or twenty years.
Additionally, we are getting older on average. “We are now seeing more and more women who previously did not live to be old enough to develop larger tumors.” The number of breast cancer diagnoses is increasing. However, this is not all bad news.
We can treat more effectively
“With continuous developments in the world of medicine, survival rates have improved significantly,” Eugenie adds. “The Netherlands is leading the way and offering the latest technologies and systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. This allows us to treat more effectively. Breast cancer treatment is at a very high level.”
The medical experts at Mama’s outpatient clinic – and there are quite a few – work closely together. They meet every week for a joint consultation, where they together develop treatment plans.
“This prevents tunnel vision and ensures that all possible treatment options are considered,” explains Eugenie. Patients can trust that their treatment is tailored, with medical experts taking into account the patient’s medical history, stage of disease and personal preferences.
Together we are strong in the fight against breast cancer
Groene Hart Hospital also collaborates with other hospitals in the region through OncoWest. Hospitals agree on protocols among themselves and on the research package.
This approach continually improves the quality of care. Collaboration guarantees higher quality and therefore increasingly better treatment results.
Prospects are better than ever
“Thanks to advances in early detection and treatment, the outlook is better than ever. I know that the process for cancer patients is incredibly exciting. However, I would say that more and more can be achieved, and the quality of treatment is constantly improving.”
Outpatient breast clinic Green Heart Hospital It is a source of hope and anxiety for people facing this disease. Medical experts are ready to support anyone dealing with this disease on their journey through treatment.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Groney Heart Hospital encourages everyone to be aware of their health, and to seek the care they deserve when necessary. Together we are stronger in the fight against breast cancer.