By Delle Willett
Access to comprehensive breast health services has gotten easier for residents of central San Diego neighborhoods, including Hillcrest, Mission Hills, Downtown, Bankers Hill, City Heights, North Park, Normal Heights, Mission Valley and Point Loma.
Scripps Mercy O’Toole Breast Care Center, a $5.3 million facility, opened June 3 on the campus of Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego in the Scripps Medical Building located at 550 Washington St.
The center is a short walking distance to Scripps Mercy Hospital on Fifth Avenue and is conveniently located in the same building as the Scripps Mercy Surgery Pavilion. The central location allows for more same-day scheduling of services to patients, hospital officials say.
The multidisciplinary center offers comprehensive breast health services in a convenient and comforting environment, with sophisticated screening and diagnostic mammography services. It replaces a temporary facility that opened last year near Scripps Mercy Hospital.
“Because all required studies and procedures are available at the Scripps Mercy Hospital campus, there is no need for our breast-care patients to travel elsewhere for imaging services and needle localizations,” said Paul Goldfarb, M.D., chair of the Scripps Breast Cancer Task Force.
“The goal of providing comprehensive services in one place is to help women navigate all phases of care, from screening to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship in a warm, comfortable environment,” he said.
The O’Toole Breast Care Center — named after lead donor, the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Foundation — features an array of specialized medical rooms, an elegant lobby with comfortable seating, three changing rooms and a patient-friendly, well-stocked resource center, with a computer, educational materials and breast-care treatment-related items such as wigs, knitted hats and chemo caps.
“We are grateful to the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Foundation and the Menard Family Foundation for supporting the expansion of breast care services in the communities that we serve,” said William Stanton, M.D., medical oncologist and medical director of the Scripps Cancer Center at Scripps Mercy Hospital’s San Diego campus. “We thank them for giving Scripps the opportunity to build a state-of-the-art center where our experienced and compassionate medical staff can provide patient care using the most advanced technologies.”
The 3,612-square-foot facility has several specialized rooms for services such as:
- Mammography, including breast tomosynthesis, which uses three-dimensional digital imaging to provide higher diagnostic accuracy.
- Dexa scans (for bone density measuring).
- Gynecologic and obstetric imaging.
- Pre-surgery needle localization using mammography, stereotactic-guided or ultrasound-guided procedure for exact needle placement.
The center is staffed by two radiologists, two mammography technologists, one ultrasound technologist and clerical support.
“Our radiologists have decades of experience and can help determine whether a lump is a passing concern or a serious issue,” said Maya Borso, M.D., co-director of women’s imaging services at the center. “Throughout the process, our entire team will be there to answer questions and explain the next steps.”
Nurse navigator Phung “Kimi” Nguyen provides individual assistance to the center’s patients. A registered nurse since 1999, Nguyen has 10 years of experience performing clinical breast exams, involvement in the screening mammogram process, and assisting in patient care navigation.
“Through every step of your care, I am there for you. I will answer questions, describe procedures, coordinate your appointments and ensure you understand all aspects of your care,” Nguyen said.
The O’Toole Breast Care Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is listed as a Hologic Pink Ribbon facility, a designation for imaging centers that provide excellent breast care and support for women in their communities.
It is one of three Scripps Health comprehensive breast care centers in San Diego County. The Scripps Polster Breast Care Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and the Emily Fenton Hunte Breast Care Center at Scripps Green Hospital, also in La Jolla, have earned accreditation from the American College of Surgeons’ National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer Centers.
Scripps Health cares for more breast cancer patients than any other San Diego health care provider. Scripps-affiliated physicians comprise half the region’s physician membership in the American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Scripps Health is a nationally recognized leader in cancer care, providing comprehensive services at its five hospital campuses and various Scripps Clinic locations. Scripps Cancer Care physicians and staff work collaboratively toward cancer prevention, early detection, coordinated treatment and community support services.
More news and information from Scripps can be found at scripps.org/CancerNews. For a referral to a Scripps cancer specialist, call 858-207-3282.
—Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at email@example.com.