A cancer diagnosis is frightening, and the journey to recovery can be challenging. Recent statistics show that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, understanding treatment options—and choosing the right doctor and hospital—is the critical first step.
Sharon Fadale, breast cancer survivor
Thanks to Torrance Memorial, that first step doesn’t require a stressful, long-distance commute. The hospital that opened its doors in 1925 to provide quality health care to South Bay residents is today a Cedars-Sinai affiliate —providing patients with access to cutting-edge technologies and research, as well as a top oncology team trained in a multi- disciplinary, comprehensive approach.
This December Torrance Memorial will expand its cancer program with the opening of the dynamic Hunt Cancer Center—consolidating existing cancer treatment services into one larger location. These services include nurse navigators, genetic counseling services, integrative therapies, clinical research trials to be conducted in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, and infusion and chemotherapy. The Torrance Memorial Physician Network – Cancer Care medical group will relocate from its Redondo Beach office to the medical center’s main campus.
“When it comes to cancer treatment, individualized care is key.”
With this new development, Torrance Memorial’s multidisciplinary team will continue to develop individual cancer treatment plans and personalized care. Expert surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and nurse navigators work together to offer promising new treatments and diagnostics. On-site genetic counseling is available, along with medical expertise coming from Cedars-Sinai. This partnership also expands access to a variety of clinical trials.
Torrance Memorial Hunt Cancer Center, opening in December
Receiving cancer care from a medical team that treats a high volume of patients with various cancer types has its advantages—namely in successful patient outcomes. Quality data from Oncology Care Model (a model presented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide higher quality, highly coordinated cancer care) reported that Torrance Memorial’s oncology program showed better survival outcomes compared to the national average and was among the top 15% in the country in patient satisfaction.
When it comes to cancer treatment, individualized care is key—and nurse navigators are a vital component. These patient advocates create personalized schedules throughout all aspects of care. They help patients make informed medical decisions, assist with scheduling multiple doctors’ appointments and tests, make sure treatment plans stay on track, run interference on insurance issues and offer emotional support.
As co-medical directors of the new Hunt Cancer Institute Breast Surgical Program, Melanie Friedlander, MD, and Rashaan Ali-Jones, MD, are among the top surgeons in the field and are leaders in advancing personalized cancer care in the South Bay. With access to the most state-of-the-art technology, they can treat all types of breast cancer and specialize in breast conservation therapy (lumpectomy), skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy and partial breast radiation catheter placement.
As if Hunt Cancer Center’s quality of care, personalized attention and experienced team aren’t enough reasons to choose to have treatment at Torrance Memorial, another aspect of the center stands out. In the midst of technology and treatment, the Hunt Cancer Center will feature gentle, supportive touches to make the challenging experience of cancer treatment as pleasant as possible for patients and their families.
Patients will experience a comforting environment that encourages relaxation with soothing colors, plants and large windows in the waiting and treatment areas. Infusion centers, where chemotherapy treatments take place, will offer snacks, warming blankets and personal entertainment consoles.
Melanie Friedlander, MD, and Rashaan Ali-Jones, MD, co-medical directors, Hunt Cancer Institute Breast Surgical Program
Prevention is key. As Breast Cancer Awareness Month nears, Torrance Memorial encourages women to get their mammograms, which detect not only cancer but also precancerous nodules that can be removed surgically without altering the breast appearance. “Early detection has always been—and always will be—the most important factor in diagnosing and surviving cancer,” Thomas Lowe, MD, oncologist at Torrance Memorial says.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 45+ get annual screenings and women ages 55+ get biennial mammograms. Those with genetic risks should consult their physician and consider earlier screening.
“I’m all about early detection,” says Sharon Fadale, a South Bay teacher who received a 3-D mammogram during an annual checkup—a technology that caught her aggressive form of cancer early. “I had two tumors that would not have been detected with a regular mammogram or self-exams. They would have grown for a whole year unchecked.”
Sharon began treatment, which included chemo and radiation, at Torrance Memorial immediately after detection in October 2017. She then had a double mastectomy in March 2018 and returned to work this September—two years after her ordeal began. Sharon is now cancer-free.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked in countries across the world every October. The event helps increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.
With a top oncology team, access to expanded research and cutting-edge technology, Torrance Memorial is the leader in cancer detection, treatment and recovery for the South Bay. Learn more at TorranceMemorial.org/Cancer.
Torrance Memorial Hunt Cancer Center | 3285 Skypark Drive, Torrance | 310-750-3300
Licensed medical aesthetician Penny Johnson has taken an active role in helping Dr. James O’Connell develop the skincare program at his dermatology practice.