Oct. 25, 2011
Naval Hospital Beaufort Breast Care Coordinator Organizes Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness
On Thursday, Oct. 20, staff, friends, and family at Naval Hospital Beaufort stepped up and stepped out to walk for Breast Cancer Awareness. Amy Luce, the breast care coordinator at the hospital helped organized the 3K and 5K fun run to bring awareness to staff and beneficiaries alike not only of the risks of developing breast cancer and the importance of early detection, but also to create awareness of the hospital’s comprehensive Breast Care Initiative Program.
“Naval Hospital Beaufort has a very comprehensive breast health program,” said Luce. “We provide education and support for all breast health issues for the women, men and their families in the tri-command. Many facilities have nurse case managers who navigate patients through the course of treatment for breast cancer, but most do not have a nurse who will work with you from prevention and wellness through surgery and beyond. We do.”
As the breast care coordinator, Luce is with patients who have an abnormal mammogram every step of the way, whether the abnormality turns out to be a simple cyst or cancerous tumor. Luce serves as an advocate, navigator, and educator, supporting patients through each stage of the “breast health experience,” as she refers to it. She also serves as a liaison between patients and their team of physicians, which can include providers from many different specialties including general surgery, radiology, oncology, and more.
“During a monthly self breast examination, if a patient discovers a tiny lump, the next steps can be daunting, from having a digital mammogram done in our radiology department to being referred to a surgeon and other specialists,” said Luce. “Patients are often filled with anxiety and questions, like ‘what happens next.’ At Naval Hospital Beaufort, I’m here to guide our patients through those next steps,” she added.
Typically, the first contact a patient has with Luce is during their initial visit to the general surgery clinic at the hospital. From the beginning, she will be there to help patients understand what to expect of any tests, treatments, or procedures they will have. If a patient is anxious, Luce will even accompany a patient during their biopsy if they choose.
“Most importantly, I work with each patient to develop a personalized breast health program, because each woman has a unique set of factors that contribute to her breast health and risk for breast cancer,” said Luce.
Among the services that Luce ensures are carried out as part of the hospital’s Breast Care Initiative Program are reminding patients to schedule their annual mammogram and coordinating genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer. Luce works hand in hand with the radiology department to identify which patients require their annual mammograms and sends reminder letters or calls them. The genetic testing is a quick and easy process that requires a swab of saliva. Once results are back from the testing, Luce is there to explain what the results mean and recommendations based on the test results.
If Naval Hospital Beaufort patients have questions regarding their breast health, they can contact , Amy Luce, registered nurse and breast care coordinator, at 228-5231.
Open since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty personnel, as well as retired military and family members residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 45,000 beneficiaries.