Sentara RMH Breast Care
The Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center in Harrisonburg, VA provides our female patients with a combination of breast health care services and experts, including mammography screening, breast cancer genetic testing, breast health navigators and surgical options for breast surgery.
When a woman has received a diagnosis of breast cancer, after a screening mammography, she has the option of seeing Heidi D. Rafferty, MD, a dedicated breast surgeon with Sentara RMH Breast Care. Dr. Rafferty provides consultation, follow-up, and surgical services for women who have benign or malignant breast conditions. She also offers genetic testing for women concerned about familial or heredity issues related to breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, she has significant expertise in treating disorders associated with breastfeeding and with other benign breast disease.
Surgical Options for Breast Surgery at Sentara RMH
Dr. Heidi Rafferty has partnered with plastic surgeon Saied Asfa, MD to customize the surgery offered to a woman undergoing a mastectomy. There are a variety of options available when having reconstructive surgery. The surgical treatment of the breast cancer and the reconstructive procedure can be done during the same procedure. Combining these two breast care services reduces the need for multiple surgeries and lessens the recovery time for the patient.
- Minimally invasive breast biopsies
- Breast conservation surgery (lumpectomy): removal of the lump or tumor
- Mastectomy (nipple sparing and areolar sparing): removal of the breast tissue with the option of reconstruction.
The partnership of Drs. Rafferty and Asfa is unique to most breast care hospitals and demonstrates the efforts of Sentara RMH to offer the women of our community the best of care.
|Bryn Good, FNP-C
Graduate School: James Madison University
Certified Nurse Practitioner with Sentara RMH since 2010
|Victoria Krauss, FNP-C
Graduate School: University of South Florida College of Medicine
Certified Nurse Practitioner with Sentara RMH since 201
Breast Health Navigators
It’s frightening when a woman is told she may have breast cancer. Unfortunately, that fear can be compounded by the challenges of navigating the complex sea of healthcare and coordinating appointments with the many different medical professionals involved in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Helping women through this process is the role of the breast health navigators and Sentara RMH Funkhouser Women's Health Center.
Deanna Lam, RN, BSN
Libbi Fitzgerald, RN, BSN
Deanna Lam, RN, BSN and Libbi Fitzgerald, RN, BSN, work with women dealing with any breast issue, including those being diagnosed with or treated for breast cancer. Specifically, Libbi works with women going through the diagnostic process; Deanna works with women diagnosed with breast cancer. Both Libbi and Deanna guide women and their families through the various services involved, connecting them with appropriate resources and support.
How much do you know about breast cancer? Take the quiz.
A significant advance in the science of breast care was the discovery in 1994 of gene mutations that cause breast and ovarian cancer. Since then, according to the National Cancer Institute, scientists have determined that about five to 10 percent of breast and ovarian cancer cases are hereditary, due to a mutated gene known as BRACA1 or BRACA2. Gene carriers do not inherit cancer, but rather a heightened risk of cancer. Genetic testing is one of the many breast health care services available at Sentara RMH and is provided by Dr. Heidi Rafferty.
Genetic testing is a simple procedure; patients are given a special mouthwash to swish in their mouth and then release into a cup. The mouthwash specimen is sent out for testing; results return in about two weeks. Patients should not eat, drink or chew gum for one hour before the test.
Who should receive genetic testing?
You may qualify for genetic testing if breast cancer runs in your family or you have a personal history of any of the following:
Most insurance companies cover the cost of genetic testing for those who meet their eligibility requirements.
- Breast cancer before age 50
- Breast cancer in two or more relatives
- Breast cancer in a male relative
- Breast cancer in both breasts or twice in the same breast
- Breast cancer and Ashkenazi or Eastern European Jewish ancestry
- Ovarian cancer at any age
What are the next steps after receiving a positive result for the breast cancer gene?
Those who test positive for the breast cancer gene should receive specifically tailored counseling and medical treatment based on their increased risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Rafferty will personally consult with each woman to discuss her breast health care options. Those options may include:
- Surveillance—this may include an annual MRI, mammogram and serial clinical breast exams. For ovarian cancer, surveillance methods may include transvaginal ultrasound, blood testing and clinical exams.
- Prophylactic Surgery—Involves removing as much of the at-risk breast tissue as possible in order to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer. This may include preventive, or prophylactic, mastectomy (removal of healthy breasts) along with reconstruction and preventive salpingo-oophorectomy (removal healthy fallopian tubes and ovaries).
- Risk avoidance—Exercising regularly and limiting alcohol consumption may decrease breast cancer risk
- Chemoprevention—Medication, such as tamoxifen, which reduces the risk of invasive breast cancer and the use of oral contraceptives, which may reduce the risk of development of ovarian cancer.
Planning a visit to Sentara RMH? Take a tour of our campus before you come.
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