See the full spectrum of breast cancer care

What does a holistic breast cancer journey look like? The Breast Center Südbaden goes the extra mile in teamwork and cutting-edge technology to offer its patients 360° breast cancer care.

Lena Stauber
Published on November 23, 2022

For breast cancer patients, it's about more than just getting the best possible treatment: They want to be understood and respected. This includes caring for them compassionately and respecting their time, being responsive to their questions and needs, and talking clearly about next steps throughout the treatment journey. Christian Weissenberger also understands this: “Our guiding principle is patient well-being.” The physician is the sole owner of the Center for Radiation Therapy at the Breast Center Südbaden, one of the largest breast centers in Germany.

<p>Christian Weissenberger is owner of the Center for Radiation Therapy.<br>Everything from diagnostics to treatment takes place in Freiburg.</p>
Christian Weissenberger
<p>The Breast Center Südbaden in Freiburg is an association of hospitals and specialized doctors’ offices that are committed to providing breast cancer patients with optimal, holistic care that is based, above all, on their individual needs. State-of-the-art therapy coupled with equally high standards of patient experience results in holistic 360-degree breast cancer care throughout the entire patient journey. One of top priorities of the clinic’s physicians is to always focus on the needs of the patients. That is why mammography screening is also offered so that breast cancer can be detected as early as possible.</p>
<p>Alexander Büttner, head of mammography screening, is one of the first people whom potential patients meet.&nbsp;</p>
Alexander Büttner
<p>The doctor oversees the mammography screening program at the clinic. His job does not end with a diagnosis, though. It also extends to supporting the patients themselves: The screenings are often performed on women who have no symptoms at all, and a cancer diagnosis suddenly turns their lives upside down. “It is a real shock for patients when they are invited back to discuss a suspicious mammography finding.”, says Büttner. “That’s why we invite the women back quickly. We do not want to leave them in the dark for too long about whether they actually have breast cancer. We discuss any suspicious results during a consensus conference on Thursdays and give the women an appointment as early as the following Tuesday. If an ultrasound examination or tomosynthesis confirms the suspicion, we will immediately do a punch biopsy with the patient’s consent,” Büttner continued. “The women set the pace. Some want to talk to their primary care physician or gynecologist first.”</p>
<p>Carsten Witte, psycho-oncologist (certified by the German Hospital Federation), as a long-term cancer survivor himself, he knows firsthand the hardships confronting cancer patients.</p>
Carsten Witte
<p>Many breast cancer patients need help answering important questions after their diagnosis: How do I apply for a disability pension? Where can I find a good wig? Who will help me in my everyday life? For many of the people affected, a cancer diagnosis causes great hardship that extends well beyond the suffering caused by the disease itself. Many fall ill before retirement age. Others may be unable to fulfill their desire to have a child, encounter financial problems or are stigmatized. Carsten Witte, a psycho-oncologist, is one of the people who supports those affected. “I know what was missing during my battle with cancer,” Witte says, “and that helps me in one-on-one counseling sessions and even more in crisis intervention.” Witte provides crisis intervention, connects patients with support groups, provides advice about nutritional issues, refers patients to rehabilitation services, answers questions and simply listens.</p>
<p>With its many additional offerings for the patient journey, the Breast Center covers a spectrum that far exceeds the usual standards. Nevertheless, this is not the end. “Our current high standard of services doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped striving to improve every day,” Weissenberger says. “That’s why we periodically come together to think about how we can help patients even more and make our workflows even smoother and more patient-friendly.” He sees even better processing of image data in the future: “<a href="" id="isPasted">Intelligent AI-based tools</a> help us see whether lymph nodes are affected or not. That’s all data we can actually put to good use.”</p>

By Lena Stauber

Lena Stauber is an editor in corporate communications at Siemens Healthineers. The team specializes in topics related to healthcare, medical technology, disease areas, and digitalization.