Patients Win When Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance Experts Team Up
The old adage of strength in numbers rings true with the Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance (SBBCA), which brings together health care providers from different disciplines and organizations to collaborate on individual cases.
Nationally accredited, the SBBCA provides seamless care “without walls” to breast cancer patients from the Central Coast.
“From the patient’s perspective, a diagnosis of breast cancer is so scary and the treatment options and course are so complicated that you really need a cohesive team to be able to work through that process,” says Cottage Health pathologist Dr. Lauren Jacobson, who chairs SBBCA.
In addition to Cottage Health, the alliance includes Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, Sansum Clinic, Pueblo Radiology and private practices. From those groups, SBBCA draws in surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons and others. Several have fellowship training specific to breast cancer.
They meet each Wednesday at noon to weigh in on cases one at a time.
“You’ve got the community coming together every week to search for the best possible strategy for that patient,” says medical oncologist Dr. Fred Kass. "Every individual treatment plan benefits from the collective wisdom and experience of practitioners whose primary focus is on state-of-the-art breast cancer treatments."
Likewise, Dr. Jacobson calls the meetings “an incredibly powerful tool” with benefits that continue as providers consult with another through the week. “The lines of communication are so open because of that style of practice.”
Patients benefit in other ways, too. From the time of diagnosis, the alliance provides a breast care navigator who is trained to steer the patient through treatment, disease management and recovery. Patients can also access one of the state’s biggest genetic counseling centers.
“If my family member had breast cancer, I would want them to get treatment in Santa Barbara,” says Dr. Jacobson.
See our Breast Health web page to learn more and to schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient Breast Care Center locations.