A team at Comanche County Memorial Hospital and the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma work together to give patients the quickest and most comprehensive plan once someone has an abnormal screening for breast cancer.

Dr. Manal Robin, an oncologist at CCMH, said they spent years coming up with a Fast Track plan for breast cancer patients.

“Knowledge is power, and the faster you know what you’re facing, the better it will be for any patient to make a decision and plan their life accordingly, and to sleep at night,” Dr. Robin said.

After someone is diagnosed, a radiologist, pathologist, surgeon, and oncologist work together. They also have a navigator that keeps track of all the diagnoses.

“And she really tries to make a point after the patient gets the diagnosis that they come as early as possible to come and talk to us,” Dr. Robin said.

Dr. Kelly Jones, a radiologist at CCMH, said breast cancer is most treatable when it’s detected early, so it’s important that people are getting their yearly mammograms. She said women should also be on the lookout for any changes.

“I think it’s a good idea to examine your breast on a regular basis,” Dr. Jones said. “Even if you’re not sure about what you’re feeling, you’re more likely to notice a change. It’s also good to have an exam by your doctor every year.”

If someone has an abnormal mammogram, they’ll be called back for more imaging. She said 9 times out 10, it’s nothing, and everything is fine. But, if something does come back abnormal, they’ll need a biopsy.

“Usually, that biopsy is with an ultrasound, but sometimes it’s with the mammogram,” Dr. Jones said. “Sometimes we use different tools like breast MRI to look at something that shows up on the mammogram or ultrasound.”

Breast MRI is also used on women diagnosed with breast cancer to see if there is anything else that’s abnormal. Dr. Jones said it’s usually done before any surgery or treatment. Dr. Danny Morgan, a general surgeon at CCMH, said how breast cancer is treated in the operating room has changed over the years.

“The amount of surgery breast cancer patients need has gone down, but it has not gone away. We have seen dramatic trends away from performing mastectomies and more towards breast conservation,” said Morgan.

Dr. Morgan said some women still opt for mastectomy for personal reasons. Dr. Robin said they do a holistic approach where they look at genetics and mutations. She said the Fast Track approach makes a difference in the patient’s outcome.

“Because the more you hammer the cancer cells, the faster you do it, the better the outcome is going to be,” she said. “You don’t want to lay around with cancer for two months until you get this appointment, and you go here, and you go there.”

Because of their approach, Dr. Robin said she has patients come to Lawton for treatment.

“I am proud to say our outcome here and what we do for our patients, really outweighs these big cities to the point where I have people coming from New York and California who want to have treatment here,” Dr. Robin said.

If you haven’t gotten your yearly mammogram yet, don’t forget to get one because early detection is key.

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