Founder of Belladonna Breast Imaging Center wants to make a difference in women's lives
By LINDSAY LARIN
Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 27 2010, 11:35 AM · UPDATED
Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 27 2010, 11:35 AM · UPDATED
Bellevue resident Marita Acheson, M.D. founded the newly opened Belladonna Breast Imaging Center (BBIC) to make a difference.
Knowing that early detection of cancer can lead to a prolonged lifespan in patients, Acheson worked to create a facility where she could offer state-of-the-art technology and a warm atmosphere to put her patients at ease. She opened BBIC in Bellevue.
"This has been my dream for a long time coming now," Acheson said, as she sat in the lobby of her new space. "I like to think of this center as a place where women can come and feel safe. Women feel enough anxiety when having a mammogram or biopsy, it's our job to provide a friendly and calm atmosphere that may help alleviate some of those fears."
The center incorporates integrated digital technology used for screening mammograms and diagnostic examinations, ultrasound exams with shear wave elastography, ultrasound guided and stereotactic biopsies, fine needle aspirations, cyst aspirations and pre-operative guide-wire localizations.
The England-born Acheson was formally president of the Breast Imaging Associates at Overlake Hospital Breast Health Center for nine years. She has now opened the only independent female owned center dedicated entirely to breast imaging services in the region.
Acheson has gained such a respected reputation for her patient care, a previous patient of hers travels all the way from Utah to Bellevue each year for her annual mammography screening.
"I build a relationship with my patients that revolves around trust," she explained. "They are the reason I work in this field (of medicine)."
Acheson encourages all women, regardless of ethnicity, to schedule their annual mammogram, whether at her clinic or another in the area.
"It doesn't matter if a new patient speaks another language. We will work with them. We want to make the entire experience is as simple, yet effective as possible," she explained. "When I opened this new center, I had the opportunity to handpick my entire staff to ensure a high level of service for my patients. Together, we have created something very unique for this area and its right here in Bellevue."
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 192,500 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2009. Acheson reads over 7,000 breast imaging exams annually using the best in digital technology and recommends women begin annual mammography screening at the age of 40, unless breast cancer runs in the family or symptoms appear. The most common symptoms of breast cancer include lumps, dimpling of the breast tissue and fluid out of the ducts.
"My hope is that more women would learn about the importance of scheduling your annual mammogram and self-breast exams. Early detection is key. I can't emphasis that enough," she said.
Belladonna Breast Imaging Center PLLC is located at Eastside Professional Center, 1810 116th Avenue NE, Suite 101, Bellevue. Appointments can be made by calling 425-974-1044. For more information visit www.bbic.com.
other than that the news is stunning. amy, the 'new' kathleen, came in to talk with us. but before she got there carol started to tell us something but couldn't. suzi had to finish. they were fired last week as facilitators of the group. in a nutshell overlake has a committee of several people, 1 of which is amy, and then a subcommittee and they all decided to 'streamline' all teh support groups. everyone currently working is now out, including the patient navigator from ACS. gilda's house has been brought in to facilitate all the support groups now. they think it'd be best if they (grps) can be as consistent with each other as possible. yeah right. like a cancer support group can be like any other cancer support group.
everyone at the meeting tonight was furious. not only that they're changing the days the grp meets. they basically just lost everyone who's been coming and will be starting fresh. several people stated outright in front of amy 'i won't be here'. i said i'd be willing to try it but i'm not happy about any of this.' and TBH i'm really torn. i feel i should give it a try, but hell, we weren't respected in this choice so why should i give them any of my time?
amy said they've started looking at this about 6 months ago. yet no word was mentioned. no questions were asked. no surveys were handed out about what we thought about anything. not even a 'hey, we're thinking of changing the dates to wednesday...'.
my concerns if we try to continue on our own:
-several people have willingly offered up their houses on a rotating basis. the problem is making sure everyone knows whose house it's in that week
-no new people will know about us and be able to find us
-we'll obviously not be the overlake support group so we'll need a new name
-how do we get the word out about us: with no new people coming in i fear we'll end up stagnate. it's been the newbies that come in and teach us about all the latest and greatest treatments.
i have to give the gals who were there tonight credit - i don't know how many daggers we threw at amy and she did take them well. she offered to put forward some of our questions. she offered to email to carol/suzi the person in charge's email but no, we wouldn't let her out of our sight until she just told us and we wrote it down.
we did notice she didn't take 1 note. not 1 word was written down or recorded by her. that was not lost on any of us. i think we should - and i'll bring this up at the next opportunity - send an email with constructively phrased thoughts on this whole process and send it to her but Cc the other gal with the 1st sentence being something like "seeing as you didn't write anything down we wanted to make sure you didn't forget what we talked about".
a little bit we know about gilda's house - you have to register to be in any of the groups/classes/stuff they offer. there's no money, but i have to go through an orientation meeting, fill out forms, answer a survey... and no newly diagnosed person is going to want to go through that. in fact, technically they're not supposed to just show up at a meeting. so if i'm diagnosed tues morning and i learn there's a meeting tonight but i can't go until i do all this i'm going to say 'fuck that'. likewise if i just showed up technically they're supposed to say 'you can't be here until you do this other stuff'. how screwed is that? now clearly most social workers will let the person stay, but at the end of the meeting a newly diagnosed person will most likely not return if theyr'e told they have to do all that shit.
the person they're planning on facilitating most likely will never had had cancer, let alone breast cancer. and it could be a man.
i think i see a new group forming. we just have to 1-find a place and keep our core together and 2- figure out a way to publicize.
i think i'm going to need an ambien tonight. my brain is just still firing on all cylinders with this news.
and i should write a brief note up about the week of july 18th - all my tests. matt's mom and aunt have been here and i've been trying to get our france trip posted since we got back so it's been a bit crazy. i'll still write it but i'll let you know everything's fine.