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December 6, 2011 > Washington Hospital Cancer Program's Numbers Point to High Level of Care

Washington Hospital Cancer Program's Numbers Point to High Level of Care

Statistics Far Exceed National Averages for Breast Cancer

Savvy health care consumers-particularly those relying on diagnostic tools and treatment that could save their lives-want to know that the care they are seeking is ranked among the best.

To prove that its Breast Health Program is a leader in cancer care, Washington Hospital in November 2008 embarked on a journey to achieve national accreditation of its Breast Health Program from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Less than a year later, on Sept. 17, 2009, the program was surveyed and received a three-year accreditation.

Quality care close to home

"I'm very proud that we were the first facility north of San Diego to receive this accreditation and one of 105 programs throughout the United States," says Dr. William E. Dugoni, M.D., surgeon and Medical Director of the Washington Women's Center. "We are committed to providing our patients with quality care close to home and our latest data exemplifies this."

Aggregate data compiled for breast cancer patients through the Washington Women's Center show that Washington Hospital has not only met, but also exceeded most of the national benchmarks for comprehensive care, according to Dr. Dugoni.

"We are very pleased to share these results with the community," adds Washington Hospital's Cancer Genetics Program Medical Director Dr. Vandana B. Sharma, M.D., Ph.D. "Our numbers illustrate that breast cancer patients in the local community can and do receive the best possible care right here at home."

Washington Hospital's standards consistently maintain numbers well above the national averages. Highlights of these statistics include Washington's:
* Core Needle Biopsy Rate at 98 percent, versus a 70 percent national benchmark
* Sentinel Node Biopsy Surgical Identification at 100 percent, versus an 85 percent national benchmark
* Breast Conserving Surgery Rate at 70 percent, versus a 60 percent national benchmark
* Days from Abnormal Mammography to Diagnosis at 11 days, versus a national benchmark of 14 days

What does accreditation mean?

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 2.5 million women with a history of breast cancer were alive in January 2006. Most of these individuals were cancer-free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment.

By receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center, patients are ensured access to:
* Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services;
* A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options; and
* Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options.

Getting screened

Screening for breast cancer is an important topic for women to discuss with their physician. The most effective form of screening is mammography, a low-dose x-ray procedure that allows visualization of the internal structure of the breast.

Mammography, while highly accurate is not perfect. However, it is the best tool that medical practitioners currently have to diagnose breast cancer in its early stages. On average, according to American Cancer Society-compiled statistics, mammography will detect about 80 percent to 90 percent of the breast cancers in women without symptoms.

Women's Health at Your Fingertips

For more information about mammograms and other imaging services or to schedule your annual mammography screening at the Washington Women's Center, call (510) 791-3410.

To learn more about women's health programs, from educational programs and classes to state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and treatment, visit

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