Central Baptist Hospital has become the second center in Kentucky to be granted a three-year accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
The University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center received the accreditation by the American College of Surgeons in January.
Dr. Walid A. Abou-Jaoude, a surgeon and chairman of the committee seeking certification, said the goal of the Central Baptist application was to better organize care, monitor patient outcomes and show consumers around Lexington that they don't have to go outside the state for first-rate breast care.
"We'd like to do it as a one-stop shop," he said. For consumers, that means "you know you're going to be getting the best care here," he said.
Accredited centers must comply with 27 standards for treating women diagnosed with breast diseases ranging from benign lesions and calcifications to cancer. The standards include such initiatives as professional education, quality improvement and community outreach to women who are either uninsured or underinsured.
Central Baptist does 30,000 to 35,000 mammograms a year at its screening facilities across Central Kentucky; about 300 of those patients will wind up having breast cancer. About 1 in 1,000 men will also get breast cancer during their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society.
Central Baptist's treatment approach follows the patient from the time of diagnosis with a "nurse navigator" to explain and coordinate treatment with radiologists, plastic surgeons and geneticists. The program also participates in national clinical studies and in-house studies.
Abou-Jaoude said the certification puts Central Baptist on a level with that of nationwide leaders such as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Taussig Cancer Institute at Cleveland Clinic.
Judith Hatch, the Central Baptist cancer center's nurse navigator, said another component is the program's "survivorship" care, which takes patients into recovery with classes on subjects such as fear of recurrence and food and nutrition.
"You've treated someone, but you want to help them with life skills," she said. "We're trying not to define you as a cancer patient, but instead, 'what do you do for life?' "
Abou-Jaoude said the new designation means Central Baptist has reached a level of treatment that makes it a regional leader.
"This was a way for us to have an external validation of our center of excellence," said oncology nurse Susan Yackzan.