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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 19, 2017
    The new MedStar NRH Neuroscience Occupational Therapy Residency Program earned top marks during its first site visit by the American Occupational Therapy Association—the national accrediting organization.
  • May 18, 2017

    A Daily Pill Cures Hepatitis C in Months

    “It’s a hidden disease. A lot of people, me included, don't know they have hepatitis C until they have a blood test,” says Duncan MacInnes, during a recent visit to the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

    MacInnes, 69, was infected with hepatitis C while working overseas, when doctors used unclean needles to give injections in the 1970’s. He didn’t know about his condition until the 1990’s. Hepatitis C damaged his liver by causing extreme scarring, called cirrhosis, a late stage of fibrosis that is now reversible with oral medications.

    After five rounds of Interferon, which involves a year of injections three times each week and many side effects, doctors recently used new pills to treat MacInnes’s hepatitis C. Simple oral drugs and the liver’s ability to regenerate and heal itself cured his hepatitis C and helped him avoid a liver transplant.

    “When a patient is cured of hepatitis C, the patient they may be able to avoid or delay liver transplant,” says Rohit Satoskar, MD and medical director of the Liver Screening Program at Liver Transplantation the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. “More than 95 percent of patients with chronic hepatitis C can now be cured with well-tolerated oral medications today.”

    About 3.5 million people live with hepatitis C in the United States, according to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similar to MacInnes’s experience, many people are living with hepatitis C and don’t know it or know that there is a cure. MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute offers liver screening tests and oral treatments, including a pill that can cure hepatitis C with no side effects in fewer than six months.

    “Traditionally, hepatitis C has been a leading cause for liver transplant and liver cancer. Liver transplants for hepatitis C-related disease are falling, and it’s likely happening because we are able to treat more people and prevent them from getting to that point,” says Dr. Satoskar.

    Testing for Hepatitis C

    A simple blood test shows doctors if a person has hepatitis C. The MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute provides free liver screening tests to help with early diagnosis of hepatitis C and other conditions, which prevents the progression to serious liver diseases, like liver cancer, and the eventual need for transplant. With two small tubes of blood, providers screen for hepatitis C and receive test results within seven days.

    “The test is very simple, and now that there’s a cure, there really is no reason not to get tested,” says Maccines.

    Curing Hepatitis C

    “What we’ve seen with the progress against hepatitis C is truly revolutionary.  Since the 1980’s we’ve gone from not knowing about the virus, to now being able to cure it,” says Dr. Satoskar.

    Physicians use the following oral medications from a range of 8 to 24 weeks to cure hepatitis C today:

    • Harvoni
    • Epclusa
    • Zepatier
    • Viekira
    • Daklinza and Sovaldi

    “New Hepatitis C treatments are simple. Patients are now able to use pills that are side effect-free and for short durations of time to treat this disease. It’s just so fantastically different compared to what it was back during out Interferon days in the 1990’s,” says Andrea Keller, physician assistant with the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute who has followed MacInnes’s care for several years. “Mr. MacInnes is a very sweet man. His resilience and drive to treat this disease has been like no one else I’ve seen. He’s really forthcoming with feedback and always ready to try the next treatment in hope of a cure. Finally, we had success.”

    A Hidden and ‘Most Common’ Disease

    Hepatitis C is a viral infection which causes inflammation of the liver. The disease has short-term and long-term effects, but most people will not experience symptoms until problems arise due to liver damage.

    A recent CDC report shows that cases of hepatitis C nearly tripled from 2010-2015. With an outstanding undiagnosed population, doctors say baby boomers or those a part of the current opioid epidemic should especially get tested for hepatitis C.

    For more information about the liver screening program at MedStar Georgetown, please contact Chloe Shreve, liver program coordinator, at GUH-healthyliver@medstar.net and 703-639-0616.

  • May 16, 2017

    FibroScan Better Assesses Liver Health  

    Washington, D.C., May 16, 2017  - “That’s it? That was quick!”says Marc Calanog, 73, as he lay on the exam table after his first FibroScan test, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    With his left hand stretched above his head, and his shirt pulled up to his chest, Calanog’s Fibroscan took about five minutes, and was as easy as an ultrasound of his abdomen. 

    In his case, physicians want to know if Calanog’s hepatitis B has caused any damage to his liver. Fibroscan is used to check for scarring on the liver as well as signs of fatty liver disease, which can lead to the need for a liver transplant.

    In the past, doctors required a liver biopsy, an invasive procedure that sometimes requires moderate sedation, to understand the staging of a liver disease and identify the amount of fat on the liver. The side-effects of a liver biopsy include soreness of the area biopsied and possible bleeding and infection.

    “One of the most important things for physicians to determine is if the patient is on the road to extreme scarring in the liver called cirrhosis and potentially liver cancer,” said Rohit Satoskar, MD and director of the Liver Screening Program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. “Fibroscan is a way that we can estimate how much scarring is in the liver without doing the traditional, invasive liver biopsy.”

    FibroScan uses Vibration-Controlled Transient Elastography to accurately measure tissue stiffness, an indication of liver damage. This non-invasive technique helps doctors identify liver damage from a variety of conditions, including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease and fibrosis.

    Calanog visits MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute for continual monitoring of his hepatitis B and other conditions. Although there is no cure available for Calanog’s hepatitis B, his Fibroscan results help his doctors choose the best direction for his care.

    “I’m convinced that, with this FibroScan information, my doctor will be more informed about my liver and know how to better guide my treatment,” says Calanog.

    Early diagnosis of liver conditions prevents the progression of serious liver diseases and the eventual need for a liver transplant.

    “The problem with most liver diseases is that they are silent until you get very advanced disease,” said Dr. Satoskar, “so it’s very important to get screened.”

    For more information about the liver screening program at MedStar Georgetown, please contact Chloe Shreve, liver program coordinator, at GUH-healthyliver@medstar.net and 703-698-9254.

  • May 12, 2017
    Community Partnerships Promote Fun Activities and Health Living
  • May 12, 2017

    The new High-Risk Assessment and Cancer Prevention Clinic is dedicated to identifying and caring for individuals who have an increased risk of cancer due to family history, medical and genetic factors, and/or lifestyle influences. A diversified team will assess a patients' need to be screened for cancer-related genes, develop treatment plans that consider current and future risk, and encourage regular diagnostic testing. The team is made up of medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, gynecologists, surgeons, nurses, and a dedicated cancer genetic counselor.

    Meet Jackie Dressel as she shares her story about her treatment at the High-Risk Cancer Prevention Clinic. Due to Dressel's family history of breast cancer, including her mother who died in her mid-3o's, she was screened for cancer-related genes linked to increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Although her results were negative, Dressel opted for a preventive double mastectomy. "I didn't want to live in fear anymore," said Dressel. "For me, it was a relief." Click here to read the full story.

  • May 11, 2017
    This article features MedStar Healthy, the past transformation of the 2015-16 Health for America (HFA) at MedStar Health fellows' type 2 diabetes solution previously called WellRooted.