In Latin America, according to figures from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), more than 462,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. So this disease is considered the second cause of death in women in this region. However, currently there are also advanced technologies for its diagnosis and effective treatments with high survival rates in the population. As stated by Dr. Juan Guillermo Restrepo Molina, hematologist oncologist at the Valle del Lili Foundation, “due to its prevalence, significant progress has also been made in the fight against this pathology.”
Access to an early diagnosis, timely and accurate treatment, as well as close monitoring of their evolution, are fundamental factors for the well-being of patients with breast cancer. But these ideal conditions for your health are rarely found in the same medical institution.
The Valle del Lili Foundation has a Breast Cancer Center of Excellence, where patients find all the medical specialists and clinical services necessary to diagnose and treat this pathology with high quality standards.
The 5-year survival rate of patients treated for breast cancer at Fundación Valle del Lili is 96%.
Center of Excellence
That is why, responding to this need and following the approach promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends providing a comprehensive program for the early detection and control of this disease, the Valle del Lili Foundation created its own Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer, where all the specialized medical services (clinical, technological and administrative), necessary so that patients can access an early diagnosis and receive a complete treatment, meet in one place, facing with greater probability successful breast cancer.
Dr. Restrepo Molina explains that the Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer “is a multidisciplinary group where all the medical areas related to this disease participate. From breast surgeons and mastologists, radiation oncologists, clinical oncologists, and reconstructive plastic surgeons, to pathologists, geneticists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Also including specialists in diagnostic imaging and the clinical and molecular laboratory. We have all managed to articulate ourselves to obtain the best results with each patient ”.
For her part, Dr. Diana Felisa Currea Perdomo, mastologist and head of Oncological Surgery at the Valle del Lili Foundation, adds that “in these centers of excellence we do not have to send a patient to another institution for exams. As we have all the specialties, everything that is necessary is done here. Furthermore, these are programs whose health offer is based on clinical results and safety levels based on the best available scientific evidence, and comparable with the best references worldwide ”.
Currently, the Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer is a national benchmark in the treatment of this pathology, occupying the first position in 2020 as IPS with the best Comprehensive Risk Management in Breast Cancer, in the ranking of the High Account Cost (CAC) in Colombia. During that year, more than 3,600 patients were treated, 91% of these cases with a curative intention.
“We really put ourselves in the position of the patient, since each one has different stories, it can be a young single mother with small children or a grandmother with many grandchildren and it is the center of the home; The most important thing is that in this Center of Excellence they have a highly qualified human team, making an effort so that they overcome their illness and continue making their contribution to society ”, says Dr. Currea Perdomo.
Functional Cancer Unit
When a woman receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, she and her family take on a strong emotional and psychological burden, which is often heavier due to the different administrative procedures with health-providing institutions.
So, as an effective measure to relieve patients of these exhausting processes, although necessary, for the continuity of medical treatments; the Valle del Lili Foundation instituted the Functional Cancer Unit.
“Our job consists of providing breast cancer patients with the best opportunity to start treatment, ensuring that care is timely and of quality”, says Yaira Johana Gil Marín, oncologist nurse and coordinator of the Functional Cancer Unit .
Management from this area, in coordination with the Breast Cancer Center of Excellence, achieves greater administrative agility, resulting in more well-being and better access to the health of patients.
“All appointments, examinations and procedures, as well as requests for necessary medications for patients, are filed with the nurse managers of our unit, then a group of administrative assistants who have direct contact with insurance companies, internally process authorizations, avoiding that patients have to make more trips around the city ”, indicates the head nurse.
In 2006, at 44 years old, Esperanza Henao Gómez was diagnosed with breast cancer, from the first moment, when the doctors of the
Fundación Valle del Lili found a small tumor in her chest, she was referred to the Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer, where she received comprehensive treatment (surgery, radiotherapy, medications, psychological support and emotional support), which allowed her to successfully overcome this disease after 5 years.
“When you are diagnosed with cancer, you always think you are going to die, but really the total and immediate support we receive here makes us feel very confident. I am fortunate to have arrived at the right time at a center of excellence in this disease, for which, today I can be giving this testimony of life, “says the patient.
Currently, Esperanza continues her medical check-ups every six months at the same Institution where she also participates in different education and support activities for new patients.
One of the most important activities is La Noche Rosada, an annual meeting that has been held at the Valle del Lili Foundation for 16 years.
With this event, the early detection of breast cancer is promoted, creating awareness about the social impact of this disease, and reinforcing the bonds of solidarity between patients, their families and the community in general.