HONOLULU (KHNL) - Breast cancer is a terrifying diagnosis for any woman. But at the Queen's Medical Center, patients are finding comfort knowing they're not alone in the fight.
The hospital's Breast Center has received national recognition for its efforts.
"So how have you been doing since surgery?" Kathleen Mah, M.D., Chief of General Surgery, asked.
"Great," Turvelyn Wong Yuen, breast cancer patient, replied.
Turvelyn Wong Yuen's heart sank when she discovered a lump in her breast in February.
"It was scary," she said. "You know, the C-word is always a scary thing to be diagnosed when you have family and you think, your life just flashes before you."
The 45-year-old, whose mother died from breast cancer 10 years ago, decided to undergo a double mastectomy at the Queen's Medical Center.
"My first instinct was, you know, go to the mainland, you can get the best care there," she said.
But Yuen now says she appreciates the Queen's Breast Center's multi-disciplinary team approach, in which surgeons, oncologists and other specialists offer patients individualized care and support.
"It's a team of probably 20, 25 providers that Turve's going to meet in the course of her care, from the navigators who meet her at the door, the radiologists reading her films, the pathologists," Mah said.
Now, the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers is recognizing the Queen's Breast Center as one of the best in this field.
"Just to put it in perspective, there's over 5,700 registered hospitals in the country," Mah said. "Only 51 programs to date have this accreditation."
She says the center provides patients every available weapon in their battle against breast disease.
"Some women, I kid you not, can't even sit up straight in the chair. They're just devastated," Mah said. "And I see this transition to where they accept it, they own it, they're in charge of it."
"Dr. Higuchi is thinking about chemotherapy. How do you feel about that?" Mah asked the patient.
"I'm ready for it," Yuen replied.
"I'm a survivor," she said. "And I think with this facility, a lot of people should be aware that we have a great facility right here in the islands."