Why I Love the Cambridge Breast Center

Pictured: Margery Gans (right) with Denise Landrigan de Filippi, nurse practitioner at the Cambridge Breast Center

Breast cancer survivor Margery Gans shared her experiences as a patient at CHA’s Cambridge Breast Center. The center delivers a unique model of care that treats every breast lump as a medical emergency, providing open access scheduling and rapid communication with patients and referring physicians. That philosophy, combined with state-of-the-art services, has helped the Breast Center become a major community resource for patients with breast disease in the Cambridge community and beyond.

I love the Cambridge Breast Center. I remember my first visit to gather a second opinion, sitting in the waiting room with two friends who came to listen for me. I was unglued despite my relatively cool demeanor and knew I would appear to be listening, absorbing information, while my mind was a sieve. These friends would catch the information I would lose.

I remember when Dr. Michael Wertheimer told me the Breast Center worked as a team, I was sold. I came to understand that every member of this team would have something different to offer, but not one of them would ask me to do cancer differently from the way I needed to do it in my life. No one asked me to take on a role that was uncomfortable or an identity that didn't fit. All were open to hearing from me.

Dr. Wertheimer gave me faith with his exuberant self-confidence that was grounded in skill. Despite my diagnosis deteriorating with each step, he remained positive without being unrealistic. Nurse practitioner Denise Landrigan de Filippi told me to exercise as much as I could and passed on wisdom from other breast cancer folks. Dr. Lisa Weissman has continued to give me the information from research that is hot off the presses and tell me about her amazing trips and bike rides. She told me I could go to Antarctica right after chemotherapy – that was a bit too optimistic, but I loved it. And Dr. Anthony Abner asked how I felt. Pure and simple.

Then there were the comforting, funny, steady women in the infusion room, who made even chemotherapy an easy chore. I had one emergency visit and the nurse in the ED on a Saturday morning knew just what to say to keep me going. That was all in 2007, nine years ago, and I still rely on the warmth, intelligence and consistency of these men and women, if not in person, in my memory. I will never not have had breast cancer and I will never not carry these men and women with me.

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Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.