The Breast Center at Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU

At the time your health care provider refers you to the Breast Center, you will be sent a Woman on the phoneregistration packet.   The packet includes a History Form for you to complete and bring to the office with you at the time of your visit.  The packet also includes a staff biography for the physician your appointment has been scheduled with at the Breast Center.  For those who live outside the Springfield area, a map and directions to the Breast Center are included. 
Staff at the SIU Breast Center will be happy to assist.  As a Nationally Accredited Breast Center, our standards of care are the highest available in the area.  Our nurses are also Certified Breast Care Nurses (CBCN) through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). We want to prepare you for the first visit at the Breast Center by encouraging you to ask questions regarding any aspect of your care.   A list of typical questions our new patients have is below. 

Q:  What do I need to bring with me to the office visit?

A:  Bring your insurance cards, current public assistance notification, driver’s license or other picture identification, and the completed history form sent to you in the registration packet. 

Q:   Do I need a driver or someone to come with me?

A:  You usually do not need a driver to come with you but there are exceptions.  Those who drive from a long distance may be scheduled for an outpatient biopsy in the radiology department the same day and should have someone to drive them home.  If you already know you have been diagnosed with cancer and will be speaking to the physician about surgery, it is wise for you to have a driver or other person come with you.  The other person (usually a family member) can be part of the conversation and ask questions you may not have thought about before the visit.  If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, the person who comes with you can help remember the information you were given and provide support.   

Q:   Do I need to bring my mammogram films with me?  Do I need to bring my pathology slides if I had a biopsy done at another hospital before coming to the Breast Center?

A:  No, the staff at the Breast Center will make arrangements with the facility where you had your mammogram or biopsy done to obtain the films or pathology slides.  We ask for them to be sent to us before your visit for review and recommendations to help guide your care before your arrive for your office visit.  Rarely, do we ask you to bring them with you. 

Q:   What happens to me when I come to the Breast Center?  What will I do there?

A:  You will report to the receptionist desk.  She will take copies of your insurance card and verify your identity.  You will be called to one of the exam rooms by a staff member who will take your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.  You will also be weighed and measured for height.  You will be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a hospital gown.  You will be examined and your health history will be taken by the physician, nurse practitioner or a resident from the School of Medicine.  You  will also be seen by the physician or nurse practitioner handling your case.  At no time is a patient seen only by the resident.  All planning for your care is done under the direction of the physician responsible for your care. 

Q:   Do I need to be NPO?  Can I take my medications? 

A:  You do not need to be NPO for your first visit.  You can take your usual prescribed medications. If you are scheduled for a biopsy in the radiology department,  you would be instructed to avoid taking Aspirin, Motrin/Ibuprophen, Aleve, Coumadin or any other medication that thins your blood.  The nursing staff would notify you before the office visit if a biopsy was being scheduled and you could not take your medication. 

Q:   Am I going to have a biopsy done the day of the visit?

A:  You probably will not have a biopsy done the day of your visit.  If a biopsy needs to be done in the radiology department and it is scheduled for the same day, you will be notified by the nursing staff before the visit.  This applies primarily to our patients who are driving long distances to receive services at the Breast Center.   There are a few instances when a skin biopsy or other biopsy procedure will need to be done during the office visit.  These procedures can be done in the office using lidocaine to numb the area .