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From Prevention to Diagnosis to ‘Thrivorship’ – Hoag’s Spectrum of Breast Care

Hoag’s expert breast care clinical teams provide comprehensive care including screening, diagnosis and innovative treatment options.

Women seek out Hoag Women’s Health Institute for the quality of its breast care program and its sterling reputation. But survivors of breast cancer know that being the best at prevention, diagnosis and treatment is not enough. What connects women to Hoag is the fact that the medical team puts the patient first.

Whether a woman is facing an extremely high risk for developing breast cancer or is rebalancing her life after expert treatment, Hoag’s patient-centric approach views breast health through the woman’s eyes at every step.

“When you are identified as being at increased risk of developing cancer or diagnosed with cancer, there are so many things to keep in mind,” said Claire Chrestensen RN, BSN, one of Hoag’s clinical nurse navigators. “Hoag makes sure women are not walking this journey alone. We are here to educate patients, guide them and answer the questions that might seem minor from a clinical perspective but are central to their lives.”


Hoag offers nine convenient screening- and diagnostic-mammography locations throughout Orange County, including three comprehensive Hoag Breast Centers, which are conveniently located in Irvine, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

“Hoag’s highly specialized, dedicated breast radiologists interpret all the images taken of the breast, whether through standard mammography or more advanced screening innovations, including 3D mammography, breast MRI or automated breast ultrasound,” said January Lopez, M.D., director of Breast Imaging.

“As a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence and the first hospital in the state to offer tomosynthesis, Hoag has expertise in reading these complex images. We’ve seen firsthand how beneficial this technology is in detecting breast cancer early and saving lives,” Dr. Lopez said.

Early Detection and Prevention

With philanthropic support, the Hoag Early Risk Assessment (HERA) Program and the Hoag Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Prevention Program are delivering on the promise of personalized medicine, helping women to identify their lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer through genetic counseling and testing. Those at high risk and elevated risk, or “previvors,” undergo increased breast surveillance and lifestyle assessment and modifications to help prevent cancer or find incidents of cancer earlier. Early-stage cancers are easier to treat, have a variety of treatment options and have a higher chance of survival.

Women with genetic mutations are identified for the HBOC clinic through genetic testing, and often these women have already witnessed a family member suffer from cancer, said Heather Macdonald, M.D., medical director of the Hoag Early Risk Assessment Program and the Hoag Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program.

“We meet families who have seen a significant amount of loss and there is a lot of fear,” Dr. Macdonald said. “We let women know that there are things we can do to mitigate their risk, stress and anxiety. We empower them with education and support and form a plan with a friendly and robust team behind them.”

“Previvors” are embraced by an innovative team that supports their physical and mental health. The team includes advance practice nurse Michelle Booth, MSN, FNP-C, OCN, genetic counselors, specialized radiologists, a social worker, sexual psychologist, dietician, activity coach and mindfulness/meditation coach.  This innovative and comprehensive team approach is unique to Hoag.

Comprehensive Team and Innovative Treatments

Hoag offers novel surgical approaches using innovative technology. In breast cancer, Hoag’s Precision Medicine Program uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help make a diagnosis, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, and sometimes make a prognosis.

Hoag’s breast surgical oncology teams offer a comprehensive approach to care with an extended breast cancer support team, which includes breast cancer nurse navigators, genetic counselors, oncology dietitians, certified oncology nurses, licensed clinical social workers and others who provide the support women need as they navigate their journey to recovery and optimal health.

Beyond Survivorship: ‘Thrivorship’

Empowerment is at the heart of the Hoag Healing Breast Cancer Survivors Program. The first of its kind in Orange County, the program was developed and is led by breast surgical oncologist and program director of Integrative Oncology Dr. Sadia Khan, D.O., FACS. Dr. Khan has put together an amazing team whose vision is to create a supportive and accessible environment to care for women transitioning into ‘thrivorship.’

A breast cancer survivor experiences numerous challenges from the time of diagnosis, throughout treatment and in remission. Hoag Healing empowers women with tools and lifestyle changes needed to help modify their risk and provide support services.

Hoag Healing provides access to integrated wellness programs that empower women with physical, mental and emotional support. The ‘thrivorship’ curriculum offers practical life skills to help women recover from the trauma of cancer treatment and reclaim their everyday lives.

To schedule a mammogram, call 949-764-5573, option 2.