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Centegra Gavers Breast Center earns national accreditation

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After opening its doors on Sept. 9, 2010, the Centegra Gavers Breast Center has provided more than 10,000 screening mammograms to the women of McHenry County. The center is just a few weeks away from its one-year anniversary and has much to celebrate.

The center offers a full continuum of care for patients identified with abnormal screenings or other breast health concerns and is committed to early detection. This has earned Centegra Gavers Breast Center full accreditation from the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). It is the first center in McHenry County to earn this accreditation. Dr. Nora Hansen, associate professor in surgery and surgical oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who is a national expert in breast cancer research and treatment, surveyed the center and program.

”This accreditation proves that we have met the most rigorous standards and have all the resources and expertise to provide the same quality of breast care right here in McHenry County that patients can get at other great institutions across the country,”  said Dr. Aaron Schwaab, surgeon and co-medical director of Centegra Gavers Breast Center.

Schwaab and Dr. Gia Compagnoni, surgeons specializing in breast health and independent physicians on staff at Centegra Health System, lead a multidisciplinary team that collaborates to provide the best outcomes for each patient.”Having this team with an onsite radiologist means we can significantly reduce the time between diagnosis to treatment. It can be a very stressful time for a woman to wait several days for additional diagnostics or a biopsy, so we’ve streamlined the process knowing how important it is to each woman’s peace of mind to get the care they need in a timely manner,”  said Lynn Griesmaier, breast health navigator. “I am honored to be a part of a program that truly exemplifies what it means to provide excellent and individualized care for the women in our communities.” NAPBC is a consortium of national, professional organizations dedicated to the improvement of the quality of care and the monitoring of outcomes for patients with diseases of the breast.

Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. The standards include proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement.Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that a patient will have access to:

  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
  • Quality breast care close to home

“We are proud of what we have accomplished in our first year,”  said Dr. Elissa Brebach, section chief, mammography and radiologist at Centegra Gavers Breast Center. “We know we’ve been saving lives.” The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women ages 40 and older to maintain breast health and as a proven way to detect breast cancer in its earliest forms. More than 57,000 non- invasive breast cancers and 230,000 invasive breast cancers will be diagnosed in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society. Non-invasive breast cancer, such as carcinoma in situ, is the most treatable form of breast cancer when found early.

The Centegra Gavers Breast Center allows patients to visit one location for their screening and diagnostic breast imaging needs. Experienced radiologists interpret images in a timely and sensitive manner and women receive hands-on education and support in a comfortable setting from a dedicated breast health navigator.

The center accommodates any physician who wants to participate in the breast center process. If a patient requires more care, the center will work seamlessly with the patient’s referring physicians, surgeons, oncologists, sub-specialists and highly recognized staff at the Centegra Sage Cancer Center to make sure all the patient’s treatment needs are met.

The community’s many generous donations to the Centegra Health System Foundation from individuals and organizations, including the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation and the Centegra Hospital-Woodstock Auxiliary, made the Centegra Gavers Breast Center possible.