Quality of Care

The Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care is committed to providing cutting edge, quality care for breast cancer and other breast conditions. To achieve this goal, they measure their performance and compare it to nationally accepted standards. Their aim is to be better than national standards and help create best practices for other facilities across the nation.

Audits include a comparison of results at the Center for Breast Care to the National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers of the United States, and the National Consortium of Breast Centers. These are just some of the areas where the Center for Breast Care met or exceeded “best observed practices”:

  1. Percentage of eligible breast cancer patients who undergo lumpectomy instead of mastectomy.
  2. Low rates of local recurrence of breast cancer after surgery.
  3. Compliance with guidelines for breast and lymph node biopsies and surgery performed for breast cancer.
  4. Appropriate use of newer lymph node sampling techniques (sentinel lymph node biopsy).
  5. Rapid timeline of finding an abnormality on mammography to performing a needle biopsy and receiving the report.
  6. Accuracy of recalling a patient back for further studies after she has an abnormal screening mammogram (mammography callback rate).
  7. Rapid return of microscopic pathology reports of biopsies.

Report Card

The following "report card" contains information that we provide to our patients to help in their understanding of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, as measured at our breast center.

  • The chance that a patient will have the diagnosis of their breast condition or breast cancer made by a minimally invasive needle biopsy, instead of an open surgical biopsy, is greater than 95%. (National performance is lower, in the 70-95% range.)
  • The chance that a patient will need two operations, instead of one, for their breast cancer is 10-15%. (National performance is generally worse, averaging 25% or higher and ranging from 10-70%.)
  • The percent of patients that report "definitely good" pain control by one week after surgery is 83%. (National average is unknown because most breast centers don't report their results.)
  • The percent of patients that are free of arm swelling (lymphedema) on the side of their breast and sentinel lymph node surgery is 96% when assessed three years after surgery. Sentinel lymph node surgery is the term given to the type of minor lymph node surgery that is recommended for most breast cancer patients. The risk of some arm swelling is 15% or higher if patients need more extensive lymph node procedures. These risks of arm swelling are similar to all other breast centers.
  • The percent of patients who have no known cancer recurrence in the breast, chest wall or armpit (axillary) area is greater than 95% when they are examined an average of more than five years after their breast cancer treatment. This percentage risk of recurrence does not include the number of patients that may have cancer recur at some other location in the body. Your care providers will discuss this information with you. In addition, the chance of cancer coming back in the breast after lumpectomy or in the chest wall area after mastectomy is equally low. This means when our doctors offer a patient breast cancer treatment with lumpectomy instead of mastectomy, then the chance of local recurrence of cancer is low and equally good.
  • The percent of patients who develop infection after surgery is less than 10%.
  • The percent of patients who need a blood transfusion related to surgery is less than 1%.
  • Our care and communication of cancer reports are timely. The average time between a needle biopsy and the report availability for a patient is one day. The average time between breast cancer surgery and the final microscopic report availability is 2 days.
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