October 7, 2005

Breast Center debuts new clinic, leadership

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Ingrid Meszoely, M.D., is the new clinical director of the Vanderbilt Breast Center.
photo by Dana Johnson

Breast Center debuts new clinic, leadership

Ingrid Meszoely, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery, has been named clinical director of the Vanderbilt Breast Center, succeeding Mark Kelley, M.D., director of the Division of Surgical Oncology.

Among the new initiatives under Meszoely's direction is a multi-disciplinary clinic for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

It is the only such program in the region.

“We have opened a new clinic on Wednesday focusing on newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, evaluating each patient from a team approach,” said Meszoely.

Each new patient will be evaluated by a nurse practitioner, then, while the patient is meeting with patient education experts to learn about services and programs provided by the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and other community resources, the multi-disciplinary team will meet to review the patient's history and treatment plan.

The next step is to bring the patient together with her cancer care team — the surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist — for a one-on-one session that wraps up the comprehensive appointment.

“Personnel from the VICC clinical trials office will also be available to discuss their potential participation in ongoing breast cancer trials offered at Vanderbilt,” added Meszoely. “This model of cancer care is unprecedented. The patient will see all three clinicians involved in their care in a single setting.

“We are the only place in the Nashville area offering this level of multidisciplinary care for breast cancer in this type of venue,” she said.

Many times, patients travel long distances to be evaluated and treated at the Vanderbilt Breast Center. Offering this new approach can cut down what might have been two or three visits to just one, Meszoely said.

“It can be hard for some of our patients to get rides to the clinic, to get time off from work and line up someone to care for their children,” she said. “We hope this new clinic on Wednesdays will offer our patients a comprehensive visit that is flexible and convenient.”

Kelley, who stepped down to focus more of his time on the Division of Surgical Oncology, said Meszoely will lead the Breast Center to new heights and will strive to reach even more patients in Middle Tennessee with cutting-edge treatment and support.

The Vanderbilt Breast Center is a component of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, one of only nine programs nationwide awarded a Breast SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The funding and designation allows Vanderbilt to conduct more research involving all aspects of treatment for breast cancer, including prevention, epidemiology, psychological and social issues related to the disease, and more.

“This allows us to offer services and innovative clinical trials to our patients that non-academic centers simply cannot offer,” said Meszoely.

In addition, under the direction of Meszoely, the Vanderbilt Breast Center has recently opened a clinic for women at high risk for cancer, those with a family history, personal history or genetic disposition increasing their chances of developing the disease. This clinic focuses on assessment of risk, close surveillance and preventive strategies.

The Center offers information about genetic testing and genetic counseling through the Family Cancer Risk Service of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“The experts in this program have special training and experience in cancer risk assessment and counseling. They provide a unique resource to the community,” said Meszoely.

The Center also offers a wide range of technologies in a convenient outpatient setting, including digital and analog mammography, ultrasound, fine needle aspiration, ultrasound-guided biopsy and stereotactic computer-assisted biopsy.

For more information about the Vanderbilt Breast Center visit: www.thevbc.org.