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Arlington, VA (December 4, 2007) - Virginia Hospital Center will open northern Virginia's first comprehensive breast health center on January 2, 2008. The Center for Breast Health at Virginia Hospital Center will offer a full range of diagnostic, treatment and ancillary services needed by women fighting breast cancer, all under one roof.

Currently, the wait to begin treatment for breast cancer in northern Virginia can be two to three months, because of the lag time in getting appointments for mammograms, biopsies, and other procedures, and that's not acceptable," said Stephanie R. Akbari, MD, the Center's Medical Director. "By creating a one-stop breast care center and adding dedicated staff, Virginia Hospital Center will minimize these delays and provide patients with all the services they need without having to travel to multiple locations."

Dr. Akbari, the first surgeon dedicated exclusively to diseases of the breast in northern Virginia, will be joined by a highly skilled staff, including breast surgeon Molly L. Sebastian, MD.  The Center will offer the latest in minimally invasive techniques such as ultrasound-guided biopsies, stereotactic biopsies, MRI biopsies, sentinel node excisions and oncoplastic surgery. The most current chemotherapy and radiation therapy regimens will also be available. The MammoSite® targeted radiation treatment, which uses an internal catheter to deliver radiation directly to the affected area of the breast, allows some women with breast cancer to receive only five days of radiation therapy, rather than the 30-plus days that are currently standard.

"The most important thing in the care of breast cancer is the decision-making, as it is such a dynamic field," said Dr. Sebastian, a board-certified surgeon, who recently completed a fellowship in minimally-invasive surgical techniques at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "New studies come out constantly, and you need to be able to alter care. To have all this physician talent concentrated in one area and committed to the multidisciplinary coordination of breast cancer care is very powerful."

The Center's physician staff will include a dedicated breast medical oncologist and a breast radiologist in addition to the two dedicated breast surgeons. The medical staff will be composed of professionals focused on the care of breast cancer patients including a genetic counselor, a nutritionist, and a patient navigator who will guide all patients through the Center's services and answer any questions they may have. A monthly case conference will bring all the specialists together to focus on coordinated patient care.

"I am thrilled that Virginia Hospital Center is committed to offering the highest level of breast care to the women of our community," said Dr. Akbari, a Harvard-trained, board-certified surgeon who has practiced in the northern Virginia area for the past five years. "Patients can have the highest level of care, all in one place within the Hospital campus, which is exactly what you want when you're fighting a serious disease like breast cancer."

About Virginia Hospital Center:
For over 60 years, Virginia Hospital Center has provided exceptional medical services to the Washington metropolitan area. Virginia Hospital Center's new $150 million state-of-the-art facility  offers comprehensive healthcare and multiple Centers of Excellence including Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery, Neuroscience, Oncology, Women & Infant Health and Urology. Growing service lines include Executive Health and the only Lung Cancer Center in Northern Virginia. Virginia Hospital Center is a teaching hospital, long-associated with Georgetown University's School of Medicine, and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and Licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health.  For additional information, please visit www.virginiahospitalcenter.com


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