Adrienne Bolger shares how Keck Medicine of USC’s Arcadia team helped her receive world-class breast cancer treatment in her own community.
When Adrienne Bolger noticed a lump in one of her breasts in the fall of 2020, both she and the medical team at Keck Medicine went into high gear. Within a few weeks, she had several types of imaging, a biopsy, multiple consultations with a team of doctors and a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in her breast.
When it came to the next phase of her treatment, she was given a choice as to where to have her radiation. She could make the daily trek from her home in Sierra Madre to Los Angeles or go to Keck Medicine’s office in Arcadia, which is only 10 minutes from home.
“I chose Arcadia, and the whole experience was great,” says Bolger, who completed her radiation treatment at Arcadia in December of 2020.
State-of-the-art cancer care in Arcadia
Keck Medicine’s Arcadia office began offering radiation treatments to people in the community in the fall of 2020. Besides being closer to the neighborhoods where many patients live, it offers a state-of-the-art experience for cancer patients who need radiation treatment.
“We have the same capabilities here [in Arcadia] that we offer patients at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center,” explains Jennifer Ho, MD, a radiation oncologist at Keck Medicine. “We wanted to offer the local community world-class cancer care, closer to home. And that is what we provide for our patients in Arcadia.”
Radiation treatment for breast cancer
According to Ho, the primary concern with breast cancer patients is treating the breast without exposing the heart and lungs to radiation. At the office in Arcadia, patients have access to the latest techniques for treating the breast, while keeping the heart and lungs free of damage.
Bolger’s care team believed she would benefit most from prone breast radiation — a treatment option that is delivered while the patient lies face down on a specially designed table to minimize heart and lung exposure.
The whole experience at Keck Medicine was beyond my expectations.Adrienne Bolger — Keck Medicine patient
In addition to administering radiation in the prone position, Ho adds that the team in Arcadia offers other treatment options that help avoid damaging the heart and lungs, including partial breast radiation. Another option available is deep inspiration breath hold — a technique that uses deep breaths to pull the heart away from the breast to deliver radiation more safely.
“We want to minimize any exposure to the heart and lungs, so we offer several ways to do that,” says Ho. “A lot of women live a long time after cancer treatment, and we want them to be as healthy as possible.”
A trusted team of breast cancer experts
Bolger notes that having her treatment so close to home was a draw. She had the same appointment time every day and received her treatment from a dedicated care team, whom she got to know well. Radiation treatment, she shares, can be unnerving, and being someplace calm, quiet and familiar gave her comfort.
“The whole experience at Keck Medicine was beyond my expectations, both in Los Angeles and Arcadia,” says Bolger. “I had the best doctors, trusted technicians and a very positive experience and outcome all around.”