Karen Gorby: October Is an Important Time to Learn about Breast Cancer and Mental Health

By Karen Gorby
President/CNO, Angel Medical Center

Through the year, various health awareness months remind us how important preventive care is, that advanced treatment exists for many diseases and that support for our patients is critical.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and among Angel Medical Center’s many services for women are education and preventive care, like breast self-exams and diagnostic screening tests. Whether you need a routine mammogram or a targeted breast ultrasound, AMC’s technologists and radiologists are all certified in Breast Imaging. Importantly, we offer state-of-the-art 3D mammograms, the latest and best way to evaluate breast tissue, especially in women with dense breasts, who carry a higher cancer risk.

Increasingly, successful patient-centered healthcare lies in our ability to customize care to the needs of the individual. We’ve learned that breast cancer, for example, is more than one type of cancer, and that it’s fueled by different things. With our enhanced understanding of how a breast cancer case may present, research has shown that successful treatment involves protocols as disparate as each woman’s diagnosis – ranging from no surgery at all and a very specific chemotherapy drug regimen, to surgery and a long-term preventive medication. When needed, we offer easy-to-access cancer infusion treatment at the Angel Cancer and Infusion Center, as well as the supportive services of a nurse navigator, who helps patients with everything from understanding their treatment plan to serving as a compassionate, listening ear. Patients who require radiation treatment can also receive it locally. Support groups, education and other resources help patients after their treatment ends, because a life is forever changed by any cancer diagnosis.

This month we will also recognize mental health – October 7-13 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 10 is World Mental Health Day and October 11 is National Depression Screening Day. We now know that it’s critical to care for ourselves emotionally just as we care for our physical bodies. Preventative, self-care is also important, whether that means doing yoga, going for a run or having coffee with a friend to counter potential feelings of isolation.

Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions affect many millions of Americans. A 2017 National Center for Health Statistics report stated that antidepressant use in the US jumped by 65 percent since 1999. Symptoms of depression include trouble sleeping, appetite changes and feelings of hopelessness.

Our holistic approach to patient care means that we always consider both a patient’s emotional and physical health. AMC offers a wide range of mental health services to patients, including telepsychiatry through Mission Health for our emergency department patients. Additionally, each of our primary care practices incorporates a mental health clinician who can connect patients to AMC services and provide referrals to community organizations. As a best practice, our providers routinely perform a depression screening when encountering patients, and any patient who requires or requests a referral for services receives one.

I’d also like to update the community on where we are with our new replacement facility. The site for our new hospital will be the corner of highways 441 and 64, below the Entegra Bank. Though it may appear quiet now, there is a lot going on. We’re currently gearing up to start the design process with our architecture firm, and we look forward to creating plans for an outstanding new facility with your input.

As we toward winter, please make sure you take advantage of our mental health and cancer screening services. Your or a loved one’s health may depend upon it. We are always here to serve your needs.

Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.

To learn more about Angel Medical Center, visit missionhealth.org/angel [1].