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2002 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Opens Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center

CLEARWATER, Fla. (February 8, 2002)---As part of a mission to provide advanced medical technology, decrease diagnostic time and offer a caring supportive environment focused on the needs of the patient, Morton Plant Hospital is opening the Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center. Scheduled to open for patient care on February 11, 2002, the Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center is the only comprehensive breast diagnostic center in the Tampa Bay area with services in one facility including a computer-aided detection (CAD) system.

"Once a breast abnormality has been discovered, it can take weeks for a conclusive diagnosis and can mean a journey through a variety of clinical environments. Our goal is to decrease the diagnostic time from weeks to days," said Barbara Hall, M.D., medical director, Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center.

Diagnostic services offered by the Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center include such leading medical technology as nonsurgical breast biopsy guided by ultrasound or stereotactic imaging, computer-aided detection, and high-resolution ultrasound. A nonsurgical biopsy is a method of obtaining a tissue sample through a needle-like device through a small opening in the skin, requiring only a local anesthetic. The patient may return to normal activity the same day and in most cases, results are available in 24 hours.

Computer-aided detection can help identify early stage cancers using highly sophisticated computer software and equipment to distinguish areas with features of cancer that may be partially masked by breast tissue. The Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center is the first in the Tampa area to offer this advanced diagnostic tool.

"In addition to accessing to the latest medical technology, there is a great need for a diagnostic environment that addresses the emotional and physical health of the patient," said Dr. Hall. "The diagnostic process alone can be distressing and we have the resources in place to help patients cope."

The Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center is supported by the Cancer Support Services (CaPSS) at Morton Plant Hospital to provide newly diagnosed cancer patients with access to counselors, support groups, a resource library, and education in effective coping skills. To help smooth the transition from the primary care physician to the diagnostic process to any necessary treatment, the center staff has developed new processes.

Designed with input from patients and medical professionals, the Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center was created to be a soothing environment with fountains, murals and artwork to evoke the feeling of a garden. Construction of the $1.4 million, 5,000-square foot center was made possible through a donation from Carroll and Mabel Cheek to honor their daughter, Susan Cheek Needler, who died of breast cancer in 1997. It was Susan's deep desire that her family continue her work of promoting breast cancer research and early detection.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care. Named a Solucient Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospital for the fourth consecutive year in 2001, Morton Plant Hospital has more than 50 specialty areas of service including cancer treatment, cardiovascular medicine, behavioral health, neurosciences, emergency care, surgery services, women's health, rehabilitation and orthopaedics. The Susan Cheek Needler Breast Center is located in the Powell Cancer Pavilion at Morton Plant Hospital. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., (727) 462-7000.

Contact: Beth Hardy/Phoebe Ochman

MPMHC News Bureau

727 / 298-6199 Phone

727 / 468-7586 Pager