LIMA — Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Cancer Center’s comprehensive breast cancer clinic has helped breast cancer patients like Vickie Wiechart get on the road to treatment and recovery quicker than before, according to program director Katie Hunt.
The Celina native was terrified when she first noticed the lump on her breast back in February. However, after weeks of procrastination she finally decided to check into the Women’s Wellness Center at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s.
After a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, it was confirmed that there was a tumor found in her breast. By Friday of that week, Wiechart’s tumor chart had been reviewed by medical professionals and that same day she was on her way to meet with the comprehensive breast cancer clinic team.
“Imagine you go in for a mammography, you have to get another scan and now they are saying that they need a biopsy and by that Friday you meet your team,” said Hunt. “That’s how quickly we are moving these people through because there is nothing worse than waiting.”
Weichart’s first meeting consisted of a roundtable discussion with a team of radiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and surgeons regarding her best options for treatment.
“They made me feel so much better,” said Wiechart. “They gave me encouragement that I was not going to die and that this wasn’t the end of the world. They took a caring approach to what I needed. We never talked about finances. It was all about me and my cancer.”
The comprehensive breast cancer clinic not only helps patients relieve their anxiety through meeting with staff and having the opportunity to ask questions, but more importantly, it helps accelerate the time between diagnosis and treatment, according to Dr. Michael Sheehan, Wiechart’s surgeon.
Aside from meeting with the team of medical professionals, each breast cancer patient is assigned with a navigator. The navigator is responsible for completing a thorough assessment of the patient’s needs. From there, they help assist patients with the resources that they need and help them schedule appointments.
The clinic is free of charge to the patients as yet another way to help alleviate their anxiety, according to Hunt.
“The reaction and feedback that I have received from patients and their family has been more than I expected,” said Hunt. “It’s reassuring that a comprehensive high level of care can be done right here at home. I couldn’t be more pleased with how well it has done.”
Since receiving two surgeries and undergoing several radiation sessions, Weichart said she is grateful for the program and all of the support and care she has received.
“I know that I have a good chance and I think I’ve already beat it [breast cancer],” said Weichart. “If it weren’t for this great group of people, I don’t know where I would be today.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.