Great Bend Tribune | | October 12, 2013

When Ana Refinetti, M.D., came to St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center she discovered women were going out of town for breast care and treatment. But she also knew St. Rose had many of the resources to accommodate these patients.

It was just a matter of organization.

The result is a multi-disciplinary team of physicians who offer breast care right here in Great Bend.

The new joint effort is referred to as “the breast center,” even though it is not located at one site. Instead, it describes the collaboration among a variety of health-care professionals.

“Our breast center refers to a whole team of physicians and specialists who can care for women,” said Dr. Refinetti, a general surgeon with a specialty in benign and malignant breast disease. “We offer treatment for a wide range of breast concerns – many benign and some malignant.”

Other members of the team are Dr. Mark Fesen and Dr. Greg Nanney, both medical oncologists, and Dr. Claudia Perez-Tamayo, radiation oncologist. They see patients at St. Rose’s Heartland Cancer Center, representing Central Care Cancer Center, which is based in Salina and serves patients throughout
Kansas and locations in Missouri.

In addition, Dr. Rex Degner and Reno Pathology in Hutchinson, and Dr. Ray House and United Radiology Group in Salina are involved in the breast center.

“We wanted to join forces and offer breast care that is not limited to breast cancer,” Dr. Refinetti said. “We focus on everything related to breast care.”

St. Rose’s sister facility, St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, has provided support and advice for this venture.

“Their nurses and others helped us analyze what we already had and what we needed,” Dr. Refinetti explained.

Patients who should seek advice from the breast center include anyone with a lump, lesion or cyst, as well as those with a high risk of cancer. Breast disease can also occur in men.

“We can do risk assessments for those with a strong family history of cancer and tailor their screenings,” Dr. Refinetti said. “We also have survivorship programs and will follow cancer patients throughout their lifetime. A priority is offering quality care close to home.

“Traveling for appointments always adds to the stress,” she added. “And if it’s one thing a patient doesn’t need, it is the stress related to an hours-long round trip.”

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Refinetti is taking the opportunity to advise people to seek a doctor’s care with any questions, and have mammograms and breast exams as suggested by their physicians. She also mentioned the Breast Friends cancer support group in Hoisington as a valuable resource.

“Every woman should understand that in many cases a symptom ends up to be nothing,” Dr. Refinetti said. “Sometimes no treatment of any kind is required – no medications, no surgery.

“The breast is active tissue,” she elaborated. “Changes are not necessarily a bad thing but the patient should visit with their physician if there is a concern or change in their breast exam.”

When necessary, St. Rose refers patients to plastic surgeons for reconstruction. St. Rose also has access to Midwest Cancer Alliance resources. St. Rose is a member of MCA, which is the outreach arm of The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

“MCA is vital to our breast center,” Dr. Refinetti commented. “They offer many interactive televideo (ITV) presentations at St. Rose, as well as local access to second opinions and genetics counseling through the KU Cancer Center.”

Leanne Irsik, St. Rose senior vice president, said central Kansas is fortunate to find this type of expertise close to home.

“We at St. Rose feel very fortunate to have a physician with Dr. Refinetti’s qualifications lead the breast center,” Irsik said. “The center reflects our mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of people in our communities through partnerships with other health-care providers.

“We continue to make changes at St. Rose to strengthen our foundation as an ambulatory center,” Irsik added. “This breast center is an ideal program that
enables us to help patients manage their health in concert with their physicians.”

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