October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to coincide with this, Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital in Ocoee is opening a new breast imaging center Oct. 17. The renovated wing of the hospital will give residents access to comprehensive breast care — from screening and diagnostic care to treatment and surgery — all on the hospital campus.
The space provides the latest technology to detect breast cancer. It will offer patients 3D mammograms, breast ultrasounds, DEXA scans and image-guided breast biopsies in five treatment rooms. Breast MRIs will be available in early 2023.
Officials wanted the imaging center to have a relaxing atmosphere from the moment patients step inside. Orlando Health commissioned local artist Rudy Drapiza from the Winter Garden Art Association to paint the entrance mural, including daisies symbolizing the Daisy Award, which recognizes the extraordinary efforts of nurses throughout Orlando Health.
Inside, a spa-like setting with dimmed lights, soft music and water features provide a calming effect. Patients also will experience a team devoted to giving them expert care.
“Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital is always working to bring more top-notch healthcare services and specialties to the West Orange community,” said Philip Koovakada, senior vice president of Orlando Health South Central region and president of Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital. “The Breast Imaging Center is part of that mission. It enables us to offer our patients comprehensive and high-quality breast care all on our campus.”
He said a cancer diagnosis is physical and emotionally draining and navigating the healthcare process shouldn’t be another added stress — so this is a positive move to have all the services in one wing.
“We’ve heard from our patients how important convenience is to them,” said Dr. Margo Shoup, president of Orlando Health Cancer Institute. “We also know that patient outcomes improve when care is delivered close to home in a seamless manner. The breast imaging center, Orlando Health Cancer Institute – Ocoee and Orlando Health - Health Central brings those components together on one campus.”
“We want to make it easy for patients to book appointments and see their doctors in the same locations,” Koovakada said.
Two physicians from Orlando Health downtown are committing 100% of their time to Health Central’s new imaging center.
“The new Breast Imaging Center ensures that our patients here in West Orange County have convenient access to the same advanced breast cancer detection technology found at the top cancer centers anywhere in the country,” Shoup said. “This center, combined with our expert physicians and team members who specialize in breast care, completes the much-needed center for comprehensive breast cancer and breast diseases here in Ocoee.”
Marisa Cooke is the breast surgical oncology physician assistant, and she also runs the diagnostic clinic, where she sees patients with any breast complaint.
“I utilize the Breast Imaging Services to work up/follow the patient’s complaints,” she said. “I work closely with breast imaging to coordinate the care. It is imperative to have a close working relationship so that communication with the patient is accurate and timely. I cannot do what I do for the patients without the support of Breast Imaging.
Cooke developed the diagnostic clinic, which was originally in downtown Orlando, five years ago.
“This model was very successful, and Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital wanted to replicate the clinic in Ocoee,” she said. “I work close to the hospital so jumped at the opportunity to do what I did downtown close to home.”
Cooke will be able to work one-on-one — and side-by-side — with patients.
“My intention is that for the women in need of biopsy or additional imaging, I will be able to sit down and review their imaging with them, explain the findings and recommendations, and coordinate further work-up for the same day,” she said. “I have found that the waiting period is usually very anxiety-provoking. By having the ability to see the patient and have additional work-up performed the same day, I can decrease the waiting period and deliver fast and efficient care to the women of West Orange County.”
“We always want our patients’ screening mammograms to come back negative but based on statistics, we know that some of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” Koovakada said. “Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is difficult enough, so we want to make sure people can easily make appointments and receive all of their care in the same place, near their homes.”
“Our patients can expect world-class treatment when they walk through the doors of this center,” Shoup said. “We’ve taken what we’ve learned at our downtown Orlando campus and brought it to Ocoee so that our patients in West Orange can benefit from having comprehensive cancer treatment options right in their own backyard.”
“Not only can patients expect a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere; they will also have an experienced and dedicated team with them the entire way,” Koovakada said.