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St. Clair Hospital Opens Spa-like Breast Care Center in Bethel Park
By Nancy Kennedy

For some women, having a mammogram is an ordeal; for others, it’s viewed as a necessity, but also as a nuisance. Few women look forward to the experience: the drive to the hospital, the search for a parking space, the trek through the garage and then long hospital corridors, the wait for elevators and the time spent in a crowded waiting room with a blaring TV. Then there’s the actual mammogram: changing into a gown in a community dressing room, walking the halls in that gown, having the mammogram and then reversing the whole process. Add to all this, of course, the anxiety over the results of the mammogram. It can take a lot of time and energy. Even though they recognize its importance, many women put off having mammograms, citing this inconvenience and stress, and some avoid having mammograms at all.

Imagine having a very different mammogram experience, in a beautiful, calm, private setting dedicated entirely to this service. Imagine the convenience of valet parking and the reassurance of private rooms. Picture yourself waiting in a serene and elegantly decorated room, sitting beside a quietly babbling waterfall. Consider the peace of mind of knowing that, right there, some of the region’s foremost breast care specialists are prepared to offer you the most advanced diagnostics and care, with compassion and expertise.

All this is available to women of the Pittsburgh region, now that St. Clair Hospital has opened a brand new, state-of-the-art outpatient Breast Care Center. Located on the Third Floor of the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center – Village Square, 2000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park, near South Hills Village, the center blends spa-like ambience with the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology. Specialists in radiology and breast surgery provide comprehensive, expert breast care services in a warm and caring environment where comfort and convenience are priorities. "We have opened the Breast Care Center in order to bring the best technologies to St. Clair Hospital, with the goal of offering women the highest quality breast care services in a way that is efficient and comfortable for them," says Sherri Chafin, MD, a diagnostic radiologist at St. Clair who specializes in breast imaging. “We have an excellent breast care program at St. Clair and this center will enhance the quality of our care. The new center was designed to make it as easy as possible for women to have their mammograms.”

Everything about St. Clair Hospital’s Breast Care Center, which opened in October, is designed to make the experience of having a mammogram positive and pleasant. That begins in the parking lot, where parking is free and plentiful. Valet parking is an option, and for center patients, there is no fee for this service. The building is easily accessible and does not require walking long distances, which can be a challenge for older adults or those with disabilities. The center is a 6,000 square foot suite, just steps from the elevator.

The space was designed by architectural firm IKM of Pittsburgh to promote relaxation and ease anxiety while assuring the most efficient use of a patient’s time. The aesthetics are elegant and feminine, with soft colors in light blue and silver and a touch of sparkle. There is even a waterfall in the waiting area. “The sight and sound of flowing water has a soothing, therapeutic effect,” explains Dr. Chafin. “It reduces stress and helps patients relax.” There is soundproofing in some of the center’s doors, adding another layer of privacy.

The all-digital center has the most advanced imaging equipment, including breast 3-D tomosynthesis, which works like a CT scan, taking images of the breast in slices. This reduces overlapping breast tissue shadows, which helps radiologists interpret the mammogram accurately. “We offer two types of screening mammograms,” Dr. Chafin explains. “Some women want to get in and out as quickly as possible and we offer mammograms to be completed in just 30 minutes. But for those who prefer to wait for results, we have scheduled appointments for same-day results. If a more extensive work-up is necessary, we can offer that right away."

The screening mammogram is the most important tool for early detection of breast cancer. Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published a recommendation that mammography for breast cancer was unnecessary for women under 50. But Dr. Chafin explains that both the American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology still recommend that annual screening mammograms begin at age 40. If there is a family history of breast cancer, then screening should begin 10 years before the age of diagnosis in the family member, but not before age 25.

St. Clair Hospital breast surgeon Raye J. Budway, MD, director of the St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center, shares Dr. Chafin’s enthusiasm about the new center and will relocate her offices there from the St. Clair Hospital Professional Office Building in Mt. Lebanon. “Women need to know that breast cancer is treatable and survivable,” she says. “Early detection, primarily through screening mammograms, is the key. It increases your odds of surviving.”

To schedule an appointment for a mammogram at the St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center, call (412) 942-3177.

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