Questions for your Breast Cancer Specialists:
- Do you participate with an NAPBC accredited Breast Center?
- Will you present my case to a Multidisciplinary Breast Conference?
- May I meet your Breast Cancer Patient Navigator?
- Do you work with a team of breast cancer specialists?
- If you do not participate, would I benefit from a Breast Center?
What is a Breast Center?
Accredited Breast Centers are places where breast cancer physicians and healthcare facilities work together as a team to achieve the best possible breast cancer outcomes. These centers can be small or large and are multiplying into smaller communities across the country. The main benefit is that participating physicians can present your unique cancer situation at a Multidisciplinary Breast Conference. This discussion about you with other breast cancer specialists explores your treatment options to make sure “no stone is left unturned.” Breast cancer care is very complicated and there are sometimes multiple options for treating the same patient. Research has shown that cancer outcomes are better when you have a team, working together for you.
Another advantage for newly diagnosed patients is the personalized assistance you will get from a Breast Cancer Patient Navigator. Patient navigator programs are designed to help patients navigate the complicated journey from diagnosis through treatment.
The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) is the driver for developing quality breast centers across the country. The NAPBC has developed numerous quality standards and services that are required for breast centers to be NAPBC accredited. Breast centers with this accreditation meet these standards and actively work as a team to ensure quality breast cancer care in their respective communities.
What is a Multidisciplinary Team and Conference?
All accredited breast centers have a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer specialists that meet and review the treatment options for every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient. If your breast surgeon presents your unique situation to a team of physicians at a “Multidisciplinary Breast Conference” you may benefit from new ideas and cutting-edge treatment advances.
Some patients have very complicated cancer situations that require this team approach to determine a tailored, personalized solution. Breast cancer specialists that actively participate in breast centers also learn from each other how to better care for their own patients. We recommend seeking out an NAPBC accredited breast center if it is available in your community.
What if my physician does not participate in a Breast Center?
Many smaller and rural communities do not yet have breast centers and you can still receive excellent care if there is not a breast center near your home. But if there is a breast center in your community and your breast surgeon does not participate, it is important to ask them, “Why not?” Breast cancer physicians that work with an accredited breast center team may be able to offer you unique and important benefits.
Breast Patient Navigators are your personal advocate
Breast Patient Navigators are trained to help you through the complexities of your breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. This journey requires making physician appointments, learning about your unique cancer, and undergoing tests and treatments that can tax your strength and endurance. Breast Patient Navigators know each step ahead and are your advocate to make sure you get the best care possible. Ask your breast surgeon if you can be introduced to their breast center Breast Patient Navigator immediately upon being diagnosed with breast cancer.
This page (here) “NAPBC Fact Sheet” outlines the concept of Breast Centers. The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers is a group of national, professional organizations dedicated to improving breast cancer care. This website page (here) “Find an Accredited Breast Center Near You” helps you search for breast centers that have completed the NAPBC accreditation process.
This excellent one-page fact sheet (here) describes NAPBC accredited breast centers. EduCare Inc. is a dedicated breast health education company.
More Detailed References:
This downloadable “NAPBC Accreditation Booklet” (here) shows details of the accreditation process and its level of involvement across the country. The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers is a group of national, professional organizations dedicated to improving breast cancer care.