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ON C OL OGY UCLA Breast Center at Santa Monica Breast-Cancer Team Guides Patient from Diagnosis Through the Continuum of Care Last year, 48-year old Marianne Angelo discovered that she was among the one-in- eight women in the United States who will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Her diagnosis came as a shock; Angelo had no family history of the disease. “I had been performing breast self-exams on a regular basis, as well as getting annual physicals. With the demands of being a single parent and working full time, going for my baseline mammogram unfortunately fell to low priority,” Angelo explains. “It wasn’t until I lost some weight when I discovered a smooth hardness in my left breast. I thought it was probably a cyst, as breast cancer wasn’t at all on my radar.” When Angelo did go to the doctor, she was diagnosed with a type of breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma and opted to receive treatment at the UCLA Santa Monica Breast Center. During her first visit, she met with a team of breast-cancer specialists (breast surgeon, reconstructive plastic surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist) and received a personalized plan of care that included neoadjuvant chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor, a double mastectomy, breast-reconstruction surgery and radiation therapy. She was guided through the entire process by the center’s patient navigator, who serves as a single point-of-contact to assist with care coordination, planning, education and follow-up. “Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer often feel frightened and overwhelmed,” says Robyn Dvorak, the center’s patient navigator. “It is a highly stressful situation, often made more stressful by having to meet with multiple doctors in multiple settings to get a plan of care in place. My role is to de-stress that situation by serving as a single point of contact for care coordination from the time of diagnosis through the entire continuum of care.” “I was incredibly fortunate to have landed where I did because everyone involved in my case was amazing,” Angelo says. “My advice to any woman who has the misfortune of being diagnosed with breast cancer is to nurture a healthy attitude for what you are about to embark upon and believe in your team.” Patient Marianne Angelo LAW UCLA Santa Monica Breast Center It’s everything you could imagine and exactly what you would expect from one of the recognized leaders in healthcare — UCLA. • One convenient location • One patient navigator to guide you • One team of experts • One personalized plan for your medical care Nicole Dawson, MD Pathologist Anne Hoyt, MD Radiologist Sara Hurvitz, MD Medical Oncologist Amy Kusske, MD Breast Surgeon Susan McCloskey, MD Radiation Oncologist Charles Tseng, MD Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon Robyn Dvorak Patient Navigator 1223 16th Street, Suite 1100 Santa Monica, CA 90404 (424) 259-8791 Vital Signs Summer 2014 Vol. 63 3