By Keaton T. Depriest- Assoicate Editor Amherst Bee
For Dr. Meeghan Lautner, support and resources are key efforts in not only treating and caring for breast diseases, but also in their prevention.
“The more support that we can offer patients in the community, it’s a huge help.” Lautner said. “It helps people feel empowered because they can be proactive. Even if they are not affected, they are helping their friends, their family, their co-workers and others who may be affected.”
In July, Lautner and two nurse practitioners, Andrea Bauer and Karen Gutierrez — all of whom are board-certified — opened General Physicians PC Breast Care. At the practice, located at 192 Park Club Lane, Suite 120, near Main Street in Amherst, the group offers individualized and compassionate care for all of its patients.
“We offer a full range of services so that [the patients] don’t have to go through everything alone,” Lautner said.
The practice is led by Lautner, who is also an assistant professor with the University at Buffalo Medical School Department of Surgery. She attended medical school at Wayne State University, before attending University of Texas’ Health Science Center for general surgery training. Lautner said she then went to MD Anderson Cancer Center for her fellowship training. She became a faculty member at the University at Texas for about three years before moving to Buffalo earlier this year.
“I love it — this is a great area to be working in,” the doctor said of moving to Western New York. “The nurse practitioners that I work with have a lot of experience in working in this community.”
The doctor said in addition to her work at the practice, she is also involved in community events to stress breast care through prevention efforts.
“The message we want to get out there is that every woman needs to talk with their doctor,” Lautner said. “Those talks should start around their first well-woman exam. And definitely by age 40 women need to start getting regular mammograms.”
After speaking at an event at the Amherst Senior Center in October, Lautner will be a guest speaker later this month at a meeting of the Breast Cancer Network in Depew. Lautner added that while breast cancer is not as common in men, she noted that if something out of the ordinary is noticed, it’s important that the person schedule a checkup appointment.
“Folks shouldn’t be embarrassed and delay it,” she said. “A person should be checked out as soon as they can.”
In addition to regular screening and checkups, Lautner said knowing a patient’s family history is important. To gain insight into their family history, some patients will take part in genetic testing. The doctor said that most of the time, a referral is not needed for genetic counseling and testing, which is done through either a saliva sample or blood test. The clinic provides follow up consultations to discuss the details and results of the genetic tests with all of its patients. Lautner said her practice uses the most up-to-date technology, including state-of-the-art mammography equipment, which has been especially helpful in detecting cancer in the early stages.
“We are very fortunate in that [technology] has helped us in good outcomes,” Lautner said. “Technology is especially important on the imaging side. And there are new radiations and chemotherapies coming out all the time, so there is a lot to help people these days.”
Lautner credits the practice’s staff for their expertise and devoted assistance to patients.
“I am very lucky to have a great support staff here at the clinic,” she said. “Everyone is very experienced and very compassionate.”
The clinic is generally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, but Lautner said a staff member is always on call if needed.
“We make sure that someone is always available for our patients,” she said.
The doctor also said the clinic is taking new patients and the staff is always “happy to start from scratch and get going on a person’s clinical work as soon as [the patient] is ready.”
The clinic can coordinate same-day appointments with breast imaging and medical and radiation oncology.
Additionally, General Physician PC Breast Care offers access to patient education and assistance resources. The clinic also provides treatment of benign breast disease, such as fibrocystic disease, fibroadenoma and breast pain.