Every year, our June issue is a sight to behold. Its pages are filled with game-changing women who are transforming their communities hands-on. Dr. Stacy Smith-Foley, who is taking the reins of CARTI’s Breast Center opening this month, is one of those women. I caught up with Dr. Smith-Foley to learn more about the mission behind the new facility and how it’s changing the game for breast health in Arkansas.
Why was it important for CARTI to open The Breast Center?
As the leader in cancer treatment in Arkansas for more than 40 years, The Breast Center was a natural extension of the expert services CARTI already provides. Patients will be able to go from screening, to diagnosis, to treatment all at one facility.
Early detection is the key to successful treatment and potential cure for breast cancer. When diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is less invasive and better tolerated. Knowing that CARTI has so much to offer from a treatment standpoint, it only made sense to expand into the arena of routine screenings and cancer detection.
In regard to self-selection, how is this a significant shift for breast care services in Arkansas?
For the first time in the organization’s history, patients can choose to have their annual breast imaging services at CARTI. They can schedule their routine mammogram on their own and do not need a referral from their doctor. This expands our impact from only treating cancer patients to also seeing patients who have no and may not ever have a cancer diagnosis.
Screening mammograms are covered 100% by nearly all insurance companies due to the Affordable Care Act. 3D mammograms, which find more cancers and cause fewer callbacks or false positives, are covered by most Arkansas insurance companies.
The atmosphere of this center is very different from most medical centers. Why is that?
The Breast Center at CARTI was specifically designed with our patients in mind. Having a mammogram is stressful enough, so we have tried to make it as pleasant an experience as possible. From convenient curbside parking, friendly staff, beautifully appointed lobby with Wi-Fi and a coffee bar to private dressing rooms, soft waffle-weave robes and same-day results for diagnostic patients, The Breast Center is completely patient-centered. Women deserve a better experience than crowded common waiting areas, drafty hospital gowns and long waits for results and/or additional tests. By providing a tranquil, spa-inspired environment, our patients will receive the care they deserve.
How have your experiences both as a professional and as a woman informed the planning of the center?
CARTI has invested in the most technologically advanced breast imaging equipment in the market. The Hologic 3Dimensions mammography machine can take a high-resolution 3D image set and reconstruct a 2D image using a technique called Intelligent 2D. This technology allows for a faster exam, less time in compression and as much as 40% less radiation exposure. This is truly a “high-definition” mammogram with the highest possible resolution.
The SmartCurve paddle is curved like the breast and allows for more comfortable compression as well as better visualization of all of the breast tissue. As a busy, professional, working mother, I need convenient, comprehensive, expert care. As a patient, I seek advice and care from experts in their fields and appreciate advanced technology and top-of-the-line equipment. Like my patients, I don’t have time to wait and worry.
What one thing do you wish more women knew about breast care?
All women are at risk. The number one risk factor for developing breast cancer is being a woman. Many women feel that they don’t have to worry about breast cancer because they have no family history. But the truth is that 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history; they are the first person in their family diagnosed with breast cancer. While family history is important for risk stratification, you are not off the hook if there is no breast cancer in your family.