Legacy Salmon Creek center will bring breast cancer care closer

Douglas and Heather Greene Breast Health Center opening in November

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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Twice a week for four months, Liz Stanley commuted from her Washougal home to Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham, Ore. for chemotherapy.

When it was time for her mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries, Stanley traveled across the river to Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland.

She made the trips without much complaint because, she said, they were necessary in order to save her life after her Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. Still, she would have preferred to receive care closer to home.

“It would take half of the amount of time if I could have come here, to Salmon Creek,” Stanley said during a recent visit to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.

Soon, that will be a reality for Legacy’s Clark County patients who have received breast cancer diagnoses.

In early November, Legacy Salmon Creek will open the doors to its new Douglas and Heather Greene Breast Health Center. The center will unite existing breast health services and expand the hospital’s current offerings, including new technology and the addition of a breast surgeon.

“I’m so glad they’re going to have this on this side of the river,” Stanley said.

The medical office building on the Salmon Creek campus previously had one 3-D mammography machine. Patients would check in at the imaging department and would be escorted through hallways to the mammography room.

“You didn’t feel like you were coming into a breast health center,” said Shirley Gross with the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation, which is leading the fundraising effort for the new center.

The new center will have its own entrance, with a dedicated reception and waiting area. A second 3-D mammography machine has been purchased, as well as some other speciality equipment. The existing space is being remodeled to have a consistent, elegant look, Gross said. The center also has the space to later add integrated services, such as nutrition counseling, acupuncture and financial counseling, she said.

The breast health center is part of a nearly $2 million multiyear campaign to create a comprehensive cancer center at Legacy Salmon Creek. Douglas and Heather Greene of Vancouver made a $500,000 donation toward those efforts.

One of the biggest additions to the center is a breast surgeon. Dr. Cory Donovan recently joined Legacy Health and will split her time between the Salmon Creek and Good Samaritan campuses.

When the hospital began its women’s health initiative several years ago, one big goal was to bring a fellowship-trained breast surgeon to Salmon Creek, said Bryce Helgerson, president of Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.

“It really is a cornerstone for women’s health,” he said. “We’re happy to finally have that.”

Donovan’s office will be located down the hall from the breast health center, on the first floor of the medical building. The first floor also houses the hospital’s infusion/chemotherapy, radiation and lab departments.

“All of this in proximity was our vision,” Helgerson said.

Having all of the services in one place will make a stressful experience a little easier for patients, especially for those on the county’s outskirts, Donovan said.

“To provide exceptional, high-level care in a place that’s accessible is really important,” she said.

Donovan comes to Legacy from Los Angeles, where she recently completed her breast oncology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She completed her residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

Donovan opted for specialized training in breast cancer because it’s such a fast-changing field, she said. New research is constantly shaping the most effective breast cancer treatments, Donovan said.

“I think it’s an exciting time to be treating breast cancer,” she said. “Who knows what’s going to happen in five years? That’s what’s exciting.”