Madrid, June 3 2019: Professional experts in medical oncology, radiation oncology, gynecology, surgical oncology, plastic surgery, breast radiology, rheumatology, psychology and nursing all located under the same roof with the aim of facilitating the diagnosis, treatment and hospital stay of breast cancer patients. This is the concept with which the new area destined to the Breast Unit of MD Anderson Madrid was born, led by Dr. Laura Garcia Estevez, coordinator of the Breast Tumor Unit of the Medical Oncology Service at MD Anderson Madrid. "Although this type of work was already done, now we wanted to go a step further and bring all the professionals involved in the approach to breast cancer together around the patient in the same physical space," says the specialist.
The aim of the space, in the doctor’s words, is that "the patient is seen at some point in her process by the three or four professionals involved in her case at the same time, in the same office". For the patient, explains Dr. Garcia Estevez, "seeing how three or four specialists give their opinion and reach agreements about her illness lets the patient see just how involved they are in her case." This degree of personalization in the approach to her illness, as in MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, makes the patient feel more confident and causes less uncertainty, so the living with her illness becomes much less stressful.
This kind of organization by pathology follows the same protocols as in MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and one of the main advantages, in addition to the greater and better coordination among professionals and the wellbeing of patients, is the reduction of times needed to diagnose the disease. Although everything depends on the specific case of each patient and the number of tests to be done, Dr. Garcia Estevez estimates a approximately one week is needed for the diagnosis and treatment plan. Furthermore, another advantage of the unit is the single patient care area. "When they leave the consultation, patients go directly to this counter, where they are given appointments with other professionals in the unit or their questions can be answered", explains the doctor.
This Unit would not be what it is without the role of the nursing staff and people like Encarna Paulete. "Patients find in Encarna someone they can lean on, since she accompanies them to make an appointment, helps them manage their time, coordinates and solves any problems that may arise...", says Dr. Garcia Estevez. So, this Breast Unit seeks a more personalized and humanized approach to breast cancer patients with the ultimate goal that they really feel they are the focus and are empowered to face this stage of their life.
Research into the relationship between breast cancer and obesity
In addition to more personalized and humane clinical care of breast cancer patients, this is the unit that does most work nationwide to intensify research into the relationship between obesity and breast cancer. Together with Dr. Gema Moreno, chief advisor of MD Anderson Madrid Translational Research Laboratory, Dr. Garcia Estevez has already published a paper on this line of research they are both still working on and on which they expect to publish further papers that will help shed more light on the relationship between body mass index and the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of breast cancer.