By Brian Arola
MANKATO — Mayo Clinic Health System plans to house its breast cancer care and related services at a singular location within Madison East Center.
The health system announced the $4.7 million project Monday, setting the stage for a comprehensive breast clinic to open in October.
The plan comes after Mayo in Mankato moved or expanded outpatient diagnostic imaging, bariatric and physical therapy services to its Madison East Health Center campus in recent years.
After the latest project is completed, the hope is patients will no longer need to go from one clinic to another for mammograms, diagnoses, oncology, surgeries and more, said Dr. Tara Krosch, regional vice chair of clinical practice for surgical specialties.
“The whole goal is to get the entire group that takes care of patients with breast issues together under the same setting so that you really work in a multi-disciplinary fashion together,” she said.
Discussions on bringing the services under one roof date back about eight years, she added. Currently, breast cancer patients may need to go from appointments at Mayo’s Eastridge clinic to Mayo in Mankato’s hospital campus for related services.
“It’s taken a lot of conversations and trying to figure out what’s going to be the best for patients in terms of flow,” Krosch said of the project.
Along with breast cancer services ranging from screenings to surgeries to oncology care to follow-ups, the clinic will handle benign breast conditions and cosmetic surgeries. Bringing it all together is a “huge step forward,” said Dr. Albert Harris, breast clinic medical director.
“We’re really excited to be at this point where we can really start to see things happening,” he said.
A nurse navigator will be a key touchpoint for patients at the breast center, according to Harris, helping patients understand what comes next after a cancer diagnosis. The “what,” “why” and “when” will be dependent on each patient’s need, but the aim is for the “where” to be the same for each patient.
Opening the center in October would coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mayo in Mankato treats about 200 breast cancer cases per year, Krosch estimated, but the dedicated clinic can lead to more patients being treated locally.
Nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2023, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women, only behind lung cancer, and also impacts men at lower rates.
Advancements have made the condition much more treatable than it was in the past, especially when detected early.
As part of the project, unused space at Madison East will be renovated to move off-site breast services on site. The space includes what was formerly used for a dance conservatory.
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