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Anatomy of the Breast Cancer Conference

Sturdy Memorial's Breast Cancer Conference began in January 1998 as a platform for radiologists, pathologists, and surgeons to optimize communication between each link in the chain of patient care. The conference instantly became a weekly meeting, fostering dialogue among experts in surgery, radiology and pathology to create a strong partnership for better cancer care. Each patient's case receives special attention; all elements, from mammography to surgery, to pathologic findings and staging are scrutinized by the Breast Cancer Conference team. The goal is to ensure that each case is reviewed thoroughly, allowing the team to develop the most comprehensive set of appropriate treatment options for each patient.

Then it is the surgeon's turn to describe any procedures they performed, and their post-operative assessment. Next, a pathologist discusses the results of testing done on excised or sampled tissue. Pathology can determine the nature and boundaries of a tumor, giving surgeons the information to make better decisions about future care. The radiologists and surgeons learn if their predictions were correct, and everyone discusses the next steps in treatment.

Finally the team discusses the best treatment options. Each specialist offers advice based on experience with similar cases. Recent studies and current clinical trials are discussed. The patient's history, condition, wishes and quality of life are carefully considered. Each physician leaves the breast cancer conference with a comprehensive set of treatment recommendations tailored to their patient's needs.