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  • Lucy De La Cruz
    January 20, 2022

    The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center

    WASHINGTONLucy Maria De La Cruz, MD, has joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as chief of its Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center. Dr. De La Cruz is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who specializes in advanced breast surgery procedures, including wireless lumpectomies, hidden scar technique, oncoplastic breast conservation, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. She has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her pivotal papers on nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncologic outcomes have been cited worldwide. She will also direct the hospital’s breast surgery fellowship program.

    Lucy De La Cruz

    “I am honored and excited to lead the breast surgery program and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital,” said De La Cruz. “It has been my life-long dream to bring my passion for medicine, helping others and building a state-of-the-art breast surgery program to advance breast health. I look forward to working with our multidisciplinary team of breast health experts to compassionately care for, educate and empower my patients in their health journey.”

    Dr. De La Cruz is an academic breast surgeon who conducts outcomes-focused research, and among her special interests are the impact of genomic mapping to guide breast cancer treatment and male breast cancer treatment. Her work is guided by a long-standing commitment to promoting equity and efficacy in breast cancer care delivery, using the principles of value-based health care.
      
    “The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are thrilled to have Dr. De La Cruz lead the breast surgery program. Her commitment to patients, their journey, and their outcomes are unmatched; and her expertise in novel surgical techniques brings new and beneficial options to patients,” said David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, Physician Executive Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Professor and Chair Department of Plastic Surgery, and Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
     
    Dr. De La Cruz’s story

    Dr. De La Cruz, 39, started her journey towards becoming the youngest Latina woman to lead a breast cancer surgery program at a major academic medical center at young age. As the daughter of international physician researchers, she spent a lot of time in labs where her parents worked, sparking her passion for medicine and “making a difference in people’s lives.” She grew up in Cuba, Mozambique, Spain, and Miami.
     
    In college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic at the Universidad Central Del Este School of Medicine, where students were involved in patient care very early in their education and training. There, she completed her medical degree, founded an American Medical Student Association chapter and raised scholarship funds to help those who couldn’t afford tuition.

    After graduation, she was told becoming a surgeon would be nearly impossible as a foreign medical graduate and a female. Despite this, De La Cruz obtained research fellowships from the University of Miami and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She continued her journey by obtaining a one-year residency internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she earned the Intern of the Year award and an AOA medical honor society membership for her dedication to medical student teaching. During her residency, she worked on an award-winning oncologic outcomes research project for nipple-sparing mastectomy that continues to be cited worldwide.
     
    That same year, Dr. De La Cruz started her breast surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she worked in private practice for a year before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a faculty member in the associate program director of the breast cancer surgery fellowship program.
     
    After relocating to Washington, D.C., to be close to her family, she founded the breast cancer fellowship program curriculum at the Inova Health System. Now at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center, she continues to teach residents and fellows, pursue research, and care for patients – the fulfillment of her lifelong dream. 

    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    About the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center


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  • May 24, 2019

    BALTIMORE—MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital has become the first hospital in the state to offer the latest technology for delivering precision radiotherapy cancer treatment that enhances the ability to protect surrounding tissue, reduces the risk of side effects and improves outcomes. The new machine uses image guidance to shape radiation beams to precisely match the shape of the tumor, while delivering therapy in as little as five minutes.

    Paul B. Fowler, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist and chief of Radiation Oncology at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, compared the leap in technology to how laparoscopic techniques have revolutionized surgery. “It works at lightning speed compared to what we could do before,” Dr. Fowler said. “It can prevent radiation from reaching a part of the body that we don’t want to treat, with improved accuracy. The speed of treatment and the machine’s design significantly enhance patient comfort as well. It is truly revolutionary.”

    The machine is the latest in robust offerings at the MedStar Good Samaritan cancer center, known as the MedStar Franklin Square Cancer Center at Loch Raven Campus. After a $1.75 million renovation, the center opened in last year with 16 oncology experts, a state-of-the-art infusion center, a newly renovated breast center, an onsite oncology pharmacy, a clinical trials program, and screening and prevention programs including 3-D mammograms, lung CT scans, and smoking cessation classes.

    Dozens of patients have been treated with the machine at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital since last October. MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center also began treating patients with its own machine in March. Oncologists from around the world have come to MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital to study the machine.

    For more information on cancer services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, please call 443-348-8366.

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    About MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
    MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital is a 224-bed community teaching facility, located at the corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Belvedere Avenue in northeast Baltimore. Since 1968, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital has provided compassionate, high-quality care to the community. Recognized as a specialty center for rehabilitation, our services also include geriatrics, diabetes care, cancer care, emergency medicine, orthopaedics, vascular care, wellness, and hyperbaric medicine and wound healing. MedStar Good Samaritan is part of MedStar Health, a not-for-profit, regional healthcare system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region.

  • May 22, 2019

    WASHINGTON, D.C., – Physicians and hospital staff are celebrating the first 100 patients treated at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center, the first and only center of its kind in the Washington D.C., metropolitan area. Proton therapy is the latest cancer-fighting technology designed to shrink some previously untreatable tumors.

    MedStar Georgetown providers with Proton therapy some patientsThe proton therapy system used by radiation oncologists at MedStar Georgetown is the most advanced cancer treatment technology currently available. Using pencil beam scanning (PBS) and HYPERSCAN™ technology, physicians can precisely target tumors anywhere in the body with minimal exposure to healthy tissues. This is especially beneficial for younger patients, who have a higher likelihood of living many years after their cancer has been cured.

    “With conventional radiation, when we aim at a target, there’s full dose radiation in front of the target and full dose radiation beyond the target. With the protons, they can stop in the center of the tumor,” says Brian Collins, MD, clinical director of the Proton Therapy Center.

    “There are certain types of cancer where you have to deliver a very high dose of radiation right next to a critical structure like the spinal cord or brainstem,” says Radiation Oncologist Sonali Rudra, MD, “So, for some patients, proton therapy might be their only radiation treatment option.”

    MedStar Georgtown's 100th Proton Therapy PatientThe center’s 100th patient, Kathleen Norris of Lexington Park, Maryland, began receiving proton therapy treatments in April for her inoperable lung cancer. Proton therapy helps Norris’ care team avoid targeting critical nearby organs, like the heart, that may be damaged by conventional x-ray radiation. Norris says she’s thankful for the opportunity to fight her cancer battle with cutting-edge tools never-before available in her area.

    “This proton is so advanced.  It was able to hit my cancer without damaging my other tissues and it could avoid my heart.  I’m so glad.  The tumor has already shrunk by forty percent,” Norris said. “I’ve done really well. I’ve been very lucky.”

    In March 2018, Martha Ramos, a mother of two from Germantown, Maryland, became the first patient treated by doctors at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center. Before treatment, Ramos underwent multiple operations to remove a non-cancerous recurring brain tumor. Some cells deep in the brain could not be removed in surgery. Proton therapy eradicated those remaining cells and preserved her quality of life.

    “I want to have more time to be a mom to my children. I want to be very healthy so I can be there for them and help them in life,” Ramos said after treatment. “I am very, very grateful that my medical team at MedStar Georgetown told me about proton therapy. I now look forward to a long and happy life.”

    Since proton therapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1988, over 75,000 patients have been treated at only about 30 centers across the United States. Now, patients have access to this state-of-the-art technology in Washington D.C.,

  • May 22, 2019

    In honor of Skin Cancer Prevention Month in May, MedStar Health Cancer Network is offering free adult skin cancer screenings and education at three locations in the Baltimore area.  Read more.