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St. Clair Hospital’s State-of-the-Art Breast Care Center
By Nancy Kennedy

Tara L. Grahovac, M.DEvery October for the past 34 years, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has taken place across the United States, with the goal of getting people to discuss, think about and learn more about breast cancer. At the St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also an opportunity to remind women that excellence in breast cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment is available to them close to home. At the Breast Care Center, an experienced staff will care for them and support them with highly coordinated, comprehensive, and individualized services, whether they need a screening mammogram or treatment for breast cancer.

St. Clair’s Breast Care Center, which opened in 2012, has been meticulously designed to be responsive to the entire range of a woman’s needs related to breast care. Raye J. Budway, M.D., a board-certified surgeon who specializes in breast surgery and serves as the Center’s Medical Director, says the Center offers top-notch, advanced diagnostics and clinical management:

  • An integrated team of expert specialty physicians including Dr. Budway and Tara L. Grahovac, M.D., plus oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and breast reconstruction surgeons;
  • A multidisciplinary team of registered nurses, physician assistants, radiology technicians and others who are experienced in breast cancer prevention, screening and care;
  • Two dedicated nurse navigators, Jill Graham and Chris Conley, to guide each patient along the continuum of care;
  • The most advanced imaging technology;
  • Comprehensive, cutting-edge treatment including the most advanced surgical approaches and advanced chemotherapy and radiation therapy options, individualized to patient need;
  • Second opinions from nationally recognized experts at the renowned Mayo Clinic;
  • A Survivorship Program that provides a typed plan of care for each patient to take to all her future medical appointments; the document summarizes her breast cancer history and treatment and addresses every aspect of her continuing health issues and wellness needs;
  • The most advanced breast biopsy system, the Hologic Affirm Prone Breast Biopsy system, a technology that has transformed breast cancer diagnosis while offering a superior patient experience;
  • Efficient completion of pre-surgery work, so that a patient can have her biopsy, surgical consult and diagnostic radiology, with MRI, PET scan, and sometimes additional biopsies, within 30-60 days, a significant measure of quality;
  • Radioactive seed localization, an advanced procedure in which the radiologist places a marker at the site to localize the cancer and facilitate the surgical procedure.

Dr. Grahovac cites radioactive seed localization as an example of the attention given to the patient’s experience: “Radioactive seed localization offers a superior experience in comparison to wire localization, which has to be done at the hospital on the day of surgery. This meant several more hours at the hospital, plus the stress of two procedures, one with the radiologist and one with the surgeon, in a single day. With radioactive seed localization, the localization is done in the comfort of the Breast Center a few days pre-op, so that on the day of surgery, the patient can go straight to the O.R. and can get home faster.”

St. Clair has two Breast Care Center locations. The primary Center is in Bethel Park at the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center –Village Square; a second location is in Peters Township at the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center, McMurray. To schedule a mammogram at either location, call (412) 942-7800.

Supportive services have also been strengthened to meet the personal, holistic needs of women at every stage of the breast cancer journey:

  • An aesthetically pleasing and relaxing environment of care featuring spa-like amenities and an emphasis on patient privacy
  • Private counseling with a Social Worker
  • Individualized nutrition counseling
  • Educational and social support events
  • Complementary therapies such as yoga for cancer patients
  • A wig salon, with expert consultation
  • A Breast Cancer Support Group that meets regularly
  • Great attention to convenience, with free parking, valet parking and ease of access

According to Dr. Grahovac, St. Clair’s Breast Care Center continues to evolve. She cites the expansion and integration of the team as a major factor in the delivery of the highest quality care. “Our team is fully integrated with a shared sense of mission. We meet regularly and we are all committed to constant improvement. We recognize that a diagnosis of breast cancer is a life changing, emotionally overwhelming event for a woman. We fully understand that and we are here to care for her through the entire journey. Women can feel confident that they will receive excellent, state of the art care at St. Clair’s Breast Care Center.”

To learn more about the services available at the Breast Care Center, visit www.stclair.org/31/services.

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