October 14, 2015 | by Veronique de Turenne
For every woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis, the initial shock is followed by a steep learning curve. How to choose the right doctor, how to decide on the best treatment plan, where to find promising clinical trials, and how to manage both the physical and emotional fallout of the disease – all of it is daunting.
Enter City of Hope, where a dedicated team of breast cancer specialists guides patients through the labyrinth of treatment and recovery. From the moment of diagnosis to continuing care and support after treatment is complete, City of Hope offers a coordinated approach to patient care that focuses on the whole person.
As a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of breast cancer, City of Hope is one of the few facilities in the U.S. designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. The medical staff and support personnel here will become true partners in your journey.
The right care begins with the right diagnosis. But for Kommah McDowell, persuading her primary care physician to even investigate a painful lump in her right breast was a six-month struggle. When, at McDowell’s insistence, the mass was finally removed, it proved to be triple-negative inflammatory breast cancer. Other than surgery to remove the cancer, the medical staff at McDowell’s facility wasn’t sure how to proceed.
“Fortunately, I was able to go to City of Hope for a second opinion and treatment,” McDowell said.
Under the guidance of City of Hope’s breast cancer specialists, McDowell underwent several surgeries, followed by radiation and chemotherapy, each specifically tailored to her rare and aggressive form of cancer. Today, cancer free and now a mother, McDowell’s doctors at City of Hope continue her follow-up care and screenings.
From the emerging field of precision medicine to a commitment to clinical trials, the source of treatment breakthroughs, City of Hope is at the vanguard of cancer research. Our scientists are not only pioneers in the world of nanomedicine, the medical center is part of a partnership between the U.S. and Canada to create a comprehensive data base to sift and organize data in order to draw therapeutic conclusions.
For Homa Sadat, City of Hope’s commitment to research was life altering. Diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer when she was 27 years old, Sadat researched several treatment options before choosing the breast cancer program at City of Hope. Here, her oncologist, George Somlo, M.D., enrolled Sadat in a 16-week clinical trial for a promising nanoparticle drug. When, halfway through the chemotherapy regimen that followed the clinical trial, Sadat went for a biopsy, doctors discovered the tumor was gone. Upon completion of her treatment, which included surgery, Sadat’s cancer was in remission.
Body, mind and spirit
At City of Hope, we believe that comprehensive cancer care means treating not only the disease, but the whole person. Resources such as a caregiver’s guide, yoga and meditation classes, massage therapy and art classes can make a world of difference.
Just three days after her doctor told Stephanie Hosford she had breast cancer, she learned she was pregnant. She was even more devastated when four different specialists urged Hosfort to have an abortion. But her husband arranged for one more meeting, this time at City of Hope. This time, the couple got a different answer. Yes, the medical team could and would treat Hosfort while she was pregnant. Today she has a beautiful 7-year-old daughter and is cancer-free.
Helping the helpers
Cancer has a profound affect on a patient’s family and friends, so City of Hope has developed an emotional safety net to help loved ones cope. Feelings of loss, grief, fear and anger are not unusual. Anxiety and depression can affect caregivers as well as patients. Our staff of clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, spiritual care chaplains and pain physicians, available in the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, offer a wide range of support services.
With classes such as Patient and Family Orientation and Return to Wellness, City of Hope offers support for every stage of the cancer journey, from preparation to treatment to recovery and beyond.
For more information on breast cancer and treatment, contact City of Hope's Breast Cancer Program.
Learn more about our unique patient experience, how to make an appointment or get a second opinion at City of Hope. You may also request a new patient appointment online or call 800-826-HOPE (4673) for more information.