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Dr. Denise Gilman
Breast Surgery Specialist Joins Medical Practice in Washington County
By Lois Thomson

Dr. Denise GilmanDr. Denise Gilman may be the physician to give a new look to women's medicine in the Washington area. Dr. Gilman, who recently joined Angott Surgical Associates, which is affiliated with The Washington Hospital, is a general surgeon who has also completed a fellowship in breast surgery, and she is hoping that her practice will encourage women with such needs to have their concerns taken care of locally. She said The Washington Hospital doesn't have a comprehensive breast center. "That's one of the things I want to do, and I think they had kind of looked toward me to growing their breast surgery clientele. Because they haven't had a specific breast specialist or breast surgeon in this area, a lot of the patients have been going up to Pittsburgh hospitals. Some of the patients, rightfully so, feel like they would rather see a specialist.

"So hopefully I'm going to fill that niche and we'll end up keeping some of the patients in the system. They won't have to go 45 minutes or an hour into the city, so it would be more convenient for them."

Having just joined Angott in September, Dr. Gilman already participated in a health care event at the Wellness Center in October for breast cancer awareness month. "They had a 'Think Pink and Girl Talk' event, and I had a table there," she said. "It was educational. I talked mostly about breast self-exams, and that received a lot of interest.

       
 

 

Dr. Denise Gilman recalls wanting to be a physician since a very young age. "I remember I fell off my bike when I was 7 or 8 and hit my head on a rock. I had to go to the hospital, and I wanted to watch the ER doctor put the stitches in. I insisted that he give me a mirror, so I watched and I was amazed." Dr. Gilman, a general surgeon who specializes in breast surgery, recently joined Angott Surgical Associates. She said her interest in that specialty area came about because, "during my residency, we worked with a breast surgeon and I came to idolize her. She was a younger female who had started a family and still found time to do surgery. And it's fulfilling to work with women, so I guess it was a combination of role model and patients."

 
       

"I also tried to get the word out and say, 'Hey, there's somebody here who can help you, you don't have to go up to Pittsburgh.' And I've been talking with the local physicians and the referring primary care doctors and letting them know that if they have patients who need breast surgery, I'd be more than happy to see them."

Dr. Gilman is originally from near Scranton, and she said that when she was seeking a position, "I looked pretty much all over Pennsylvania. I really liked this area; it's kind of up and coming. Instead of a place where people are leaving, people are coming to Washington County."

One thing she has realized during her work in the field is that, rather than a drop in the incidence of breast cancer, it is actually increasing. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. "We're seeing more, not because there actually are more, but because we're doing better screenings. And we're finding it early—at the pre-invasive stage—before it actually forms a tumor."

Along those lines, Dr. Gilman is particularly interested in preventive measures. "I definitely want to get more involved with that and maybe start some programs on my own about prevention and how important mammograms and doctor visits are—especially if the patient has a family history."

For more information about Angott Surgical Associates, call (724) 222-9500 or visit www.washingtonhospital.org.

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