If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you will likely experience a wide range of emotions, from disbelief to anger to fear. Rest assured, the experts from Holland Hospital’s nationally accredited breast program are here for you, and with you every step of the way. We will help you cope with the physical, mental and emotional challenges of your diagnosis—because you should never feel hopeless or alone in your fight.
Our breast cancer care is a coordinated effort delivered by a multidisciplinary team that includes radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, physical and occupational therapists, and a nurse navigator who serves as your guide and advocate.
Twice a month, our team holds a breast cancer case conference to review the history, physical exam, imaging and pathology of each new breast cancer patient. This conference allows us to discuss the pathology and staging and reach a consensus on the best treatment approach for each and every patient, utilizing nationally recognized practice guidelines.
From diagnosis to treatment to follow-up care, breast cancer specialists will remain focused on what matters most: your health and recovery.
Your Nurse Navigator
Your nurse navigator serves as your guide and advocate throughout the cancer journey. From scheduling appointments to navigating hospital and community resources to coordinating with specialists to answering your ongoing questions and concerns, Alecia Jones, BSN, RN, OCN, and Brigit Cowden, BSN, RN are there with and for you every step of the way. Offering knowledge, compassion and vast experience in oncology care, she’ll help you stay on track from your initial diagnosis throughout your course of treatment and beyond.
A nurse navigator:
- Serves as a liaison between you and your cancer treatment team of doctors, surgeons and oncologists
- Helps you and your family understand what to expect, answering questions along the way
- Ensures appointments are scheduled for timely care and follow up
- Connects you to financial counselors and community resources for wigs and prosthetics, if needed
- Offers emotional and clinical support throughout your care journey
Breast Surgery & Reconstruction
Holland Hospital Breast Care staffs a team of experienced, highly skilled surgeons. With a special interest and commitment to diseases of the breast, our surgical oncology team collaborates through weekly case discussions, as well as participates in annual continued education to ensure every patient receives access to the latest protocols and treatment advancements.
Types of breast surgery performed at Holland Hospital include:
- Sentinel node biopsy: removal of the lymph node closest to your breast tumor for testing
- Lymph node surgery: removal of additional lymph nodes to determine if cancer has spread
- Lumpectomy: removal of a breast lump and the surrounding margin of tissue
- Mastectomy: removal of the entire breast, and nipple sparing, if possible
- Breast reconstruction: performed by a plastic surgeon, breast reconstruction helps restore the look and feel of the breast(s) after mastectomy
Chemotherapy (Medical Oncology)
Holland Hospital is proud to partner with the Cancer & Hematology Centers of Western Michigan (CHCWM) to offer convenient, local, expert care. This Center is the largest oncology and hematology practice in Michigan, focused on providing the complete range of services patients need: advanced treatments, innovative research and compassionate care, along with access to clinical trials.
Lakeshore Area Radiation Oncology Center (LAROC) is a comprehensive outpatient radiation therapy treatment center serving the West Michigan lakeshore communities.
LAROC is a cooperative service of Holland Hospital and Spectrum Health. The center offers advanced and effective radiation technologies for cancer treatment. The pleasant facility environment, professional care and compassionate staff ensure a comfortable and reassuring patient experience. If radiation therapy is part of your cancer treatment plan, it is good to know LAROC is conveniently located in Holland at the corner of Riley Street and US-31.
Rehabilitation & Recovery
- Rehabilitation: Holland Hospital Physical Therapy & Rehab Services provides dedicated therapy and intervention after a mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction. Our team includes specially trained therapists who will assess, treat and reduce possible side effects of surgery; help you maintain proper mobility and range of motion needed for daily living; and monitor any swelling for signs of lymphedema. Our therapists are lymphedema certified and have completed special training in breast care rehabilitation.
- Home Health: Holland Hospital Home Health Services is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet your short- or long-term care needs at home. We’re here to assist you with nursing, rehabilitative support, wound care needs.
- L-Dex Testing: An L-Dex (lymphedema index) measurement is a painless, noninvasive test that screens for early stage lymphedema. Early testing with L-Dex can help you, or someone you love, take steps to detect lymphedema early, when we are more likely to reverse the condition or keep if from getting worse.
- Because lymphedema can occur any time following cancer treatment, it’s important to have regular L-Dex measurements to assess whether you have swelling in your arms or legs. Measurements taken before treatment begins and at regular intervals following treatment can help your doctor:
- Establish a baseline showing us what’s normal for you
- Evaluate for changes over time, detecting early stages of lymphedema
- Show the benefit of treatment/management strategies
- Provide you with added peace of mind
If you have questions or concerns about L-Dex testing, talk to your surgeon, oncologist or our lymphedema rehabilitation specialists.
Survivorship & Support
Once your treatment is complete, we don’t stop caring for (or about) you. Your breast surgeon and members of your cancer care team will help develop a schedule for ongoing follow-up care. You’ll also receive a referral to the area’s cancer survivorship coordinator through Cancer & Hematology Centers of West Michigan. This visit will provide an opportunity to discuss next steps and include a personalized care plan consisting of:
- Your treatment summary
- Your follow-up plan
- Lifestyle recommendations
- Who and when to call with symptoms
- Referrals for nutritional counseling, mental health services and sexual health therapy (as needed)