Melissa Garcia

 Melissa Garcia

Question: What is a breast surgical oncologist?

A breast surgical oncologist is a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer and other diseases of the breast. Mission Hope Cancer Center is proud to have Colleen O’Kelly Priddy, MD, join our team as our Breast Surgical Oncologist. Dr. O’Kelly is Board Certified in Surgery and subspecialized in Breast Surgical Oncology. She joins a caring, compassionate team that has dedicated their time and knowledge to serve the community members that may be faced with abnormalities of the breast.

When faced with breast cancer, a surgical oncologist is trained to treat cancer by removing cancerous tissues and surgical management of tumors. Breast surgeons specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions in which patients experience masses, lumps, infection, and pain in the breasts.

Breast specialists are highly skilled in their field because they have dedicated their practice to a smaller scope and have completed specialty-specific training called fellowships. The formal training provided by the fellowship ensures that each fellow who graduated is exposed to multidisciplinary aspects of care and advanced research and techniques.

With years of training and years of education focused on breast disease, they have an in-depth knowledge of cancer biology, genetics, and the most advanced surgical options to help patients achieve the best possible results and can provide novel and innovative treatments for breast cancer patients.

Are there better outcomes for patients with a breast surgical specialist? Research shows that breast cancer patients who have surgeries performed by physicians who have done a high volume of breast cancer surgeries have a better prognosis than patients of lower-volume surgeons.

Specialized breast surgeons have dedicated their professional careers to the disease and perform hundreds of breast cancer surgeries every year. When you receive a diagnosis of having a tumor or cancer, you will want to discuss with a surgeon who has more in-depth knowledge of cancer biology and genetics to discuss treatment and surgical options. The surgical oncologist has access to the latest technology and newest information and works closely with a specialized oncology team.

Mission Hope's multidisciplinary team lead by our breast surgical oncologist meets weekly to discuss patients as a team approach for treatment. This team includes but is not limited to: medical oncologist, radiation oncologists, pathologist, radiologist, and nurse navigators, social worker, and dieticians. The team plans the best course of treatment and discusses their recommendations with the patient and family members.

Mission Hope Cancer center Surgical Oncology department is ready to help you with any medical decisions you may have to make. For more information please contact us at (805) 346-3456.

HAVE A QUESTION? This weekly column produced by Marian Cancer Care invites you to submit your questions to “Your Cancer Answers” at the following email address mariancancercare@dignityhealth.org

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