• Breast Cancer Care

  • Request an Appointment or call 303-738-2767

  • Be Part of Something Very Special - Breast Cancer Support Group

    The new Littleton Adventist Hospital Breast Cancer Support Group provides breast cancer patients with the opportunity to spend time and interact with fellow breast cancer patients anywhere in their breast cancer experience from being newly diagnosed to survivorship. The focus of the group is to gain information about breast cancer and build relationships amongst others dealing with breast cancer. Our hope is that each participant gain knowledge and perspective regarding their experience, while increasing their breast cancer support network.

    This support group meets once a month on the second Tuesday of each month from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Conference Room 3.  It is open to any woman at any stage in her breast cancer experience to meet socially with other breast cancer patients and hopefully gain support and perspective.  This group also provides free daycare services by Littleton Hospital Volunteers during goup meetings.  This service needs to be requested at 303-730-8900.

    A Survivor's Journey

    Even with a strong family history of breast cancer, Jenn Jennings, a 44-year-old Littleton wife, mother, and part-time education consultant, was shocked to learn the lump she found in her right breast during a self examination last September was Stage 1 cancer.

    Her disbelief, however, didn't stop her from acting quickly. She turned to a team of Littleton Adventist Hospital providers for help.

    "My gynecologist, Dr. David Watson, referred me to general surgeon Dr. Ed Smith, who performed an ultrasound and biopsy," Jennings says. "It was the biopsy that confirmed my diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed my tumor was a bit bigger than previously thought, and some precancerous spots were present in the same breast."

    A Calming Voice

    Before Jennings underwent her MRI, she received a call from Ellen Buchannan, RN, FNP, CBCN, Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator at Littleton Hospital. Buchannan, a breast cancer survivor herself, helps women find peace of mind during one of life's most trying times by steering them through appointments, information, and resources. As it turned out, Buchannan learned as much from Jennings as the patient learned from her.

    "I had just recently assumed my role as breast cancer nurse navigator, and Jenn was one of the first patients I met who went through the entire spectrum of breast cancer care here at Littleton Hospital," Buchannan says. "I've learned a lot about being a navigator in the time I've known Jenn - she's helped me understand what I can do to support patients."

    In October 2010, Jennings underwent a mastectomy and a hysterectomy during the same operation, with the latter procedure performed to correct some gynecologic issues she'd suffered from for much of her life. She went through four rounds of chemotherapy through January 2011 to complete cancer treatment, and currently, she is cancer free.

    "Ellen was such a comfort to me throughout the whole process, but especially when she showed up at my last chemotherapy session," Jennings says. "I was anxious about finishing chemotherapy because when I was going through it, I felt like at least I was doing something to take care of any remaining cancer - what would happen when it was over? When Ellen told me it was common to feel that way, I was so relieved. She was a good person to have in my corner."

  • Breast Cancer care in Littleton, ColoradoDedicated breast cancer nurse navigator, guiding you through cancer care.

    At Littleton Adventist Hospital, we don’t believe anyone should face breast cancer alone or without access to exceptional care and resources. Research shows that breast cancer patients who receive advocate interventions and education through patient navigation programs report improved ability to cope, quality of life, access to care, functional status, patient satisfaction, decreased anxiety, and obtain better financial assistance.

    What is a Breast Cancer Navigator?

    Our Breast Cancer Patient Navigator:

    • has an in-depth understanding of the disease process, physician network and health insurance arena
    • actively guides patients through the healthcare system
    • will provide resources for alternative therapy options such as acupuncture, nutrition, & naturopathic oncology
    • will identify and address patients’ physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs
    • acts as an invaluable resource and advocate for patients
    • assists patients in eliminating barriers such as financial and transportation issues
    • collaborates with other healthcare providers to coordinate seamless cancer care
    • can assist in the referral process
    • can help patients anticipate and avoid obstacles to care
    • is available to meet in person or over the phone

    Additional services include:

    • financial assistance options
    • education about a particular diagnosis Colorado breast cancer nurse navigator
    • exploration of treatment options
    • how to prepare for surgery
    • recovery process at home after surgery
    • education about chemotherapy & managing side effects
    • how to prepare for radiation therapy
    • clarification of clinical trial opportunities
    • recovering after treatment has ended
    • access to community resources, support programs and education

    To contact our Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator, please call 303-738-7787.

    Breast Cancer Care in Littleton, Colorado

    Meet Our Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Ellen Buchannan, RN, FNP, CBCN, our Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator is a registered nurse as well as a breast cancer survivor. Her cancer experience has given her knowledge and understanding of the cancer treatment process from both a patient and provider’s viewpoint. She feels she has been blessed by her experience with the ambition to help others through their cancer journey. For additional information or to make an appointment with Ellen, please call 303-738-7787.

    Why Is A Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic Important to Patients?

    The Littleton Adventist Hospital Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic is designed to help patients understand the cancer care process and get patients into breast cancer treatment quickly. Traditionally it can take patients up to eight weeks to complete the first round of appointments before they even start treatment, the multidisciplinary clinic saves valuable time.

    Expert Team – Appointments Conveniently Scheduled in One Afternoon

    Our multidisciplinary breast clinic allows patients to meet one-on-one with each member of our breast cancer team. This includes meeting with a surgeon, nurse navigator, nutritionist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and genetic counselor (if indicated). This allows the patient to leave the clinic with a proposed treatment plan, in hand, and the reassurance that coordinated, expert cancer care will be provided to them by our experienced breast cancer team.

    The Process

    Personalized Care:

    • Our Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator will personally call the patient to set up an appointment and confirm all necessary diagnostic tests have been completed

    Appointment Day:

    • Patient comes to hospital at their scheduled time and checks in at Outpatient Center
    • They will then meet with Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator and proceed to meet with each member of the multidisciplinary breast team, one-on-one, to discuss personalized treatment options
    • Final step is for the patient and team meet as a group and provide patient with a proposed treatment plan


    • Nurse navigator assists patient every step of the way through treatment, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The nurse navigator will answer questions and help the patient when they need compassionate, expert cancer care.

    Physician Team

    Dr. Jodi Widner, Medical Director and Breast Surgeon at Littleton Hosptial in ColoradoJodi Widner, MD
    Medical Director and Breast Surgeon
    Dr. Jodi Widner is a Denver native who is board certified in general surgery. Her surgical interests include general surgery with a focus on diseases of the breast and innovative treatments for breast cancer.
    Dr. Radhika Acharya-Leon, Medical Oncologist at Littleton Hospital in ColoradoRadhika Acharya-Leon, DO
    Medical Oncologist, Co-Director of Breast Center and Cancer Committee Chair
    Dr. Radhika Acharya-Leon is triple board certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine. She specializes in the treatment of breast cancer and is very interested in whole body care, nutrition and quality of life. She participated in clinical trials and research.
    Dr. Stan Smazel, Radiologist at Littleton Hospital in ColoradoStan Smazal, MD
    Dr. Stan Smazal is board certified in diagnostic radiology with extensive experience in breast imaging techniques. He has been board certified by the American Board of Radiology since 1977 and provides valuable input and expertise in caring for breast cancer patients. Dr. Smazal is part of Radiology Imaging Associates.
    Dr. Darlene Bugoci, Medical Director of Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) at Littleton Hospital in ColoradoDarlene Bugoci, MD
    Medical Director of Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
    Dr. Darlene Bugoci is board certified in Radiation Oncology. She is experienced in the use of radiation therapy as part of breast cancer treatment. She has a special interest in research. As medical director for IORT at Littleton Adventist Hospital she shared a passion with colleagues to find innovative treatments for breast cancer patients.

    Support Team

    Lisa Mullineaux, Genetic Counselor at Littleton Hospital in ColoradoLisa Mullineaux, MS, CGC
    Genetic Counselor
    Lisa Mullineaux is a certified genetic counselor and has been practicing cancer genetic counseling for more than 18 years. She graduated from the University of Colorado genetics program with a master’s degree in genetics. She has researched and published about heredity breast cancer in Spanish Americans from Southern Colorado.
    Ellen Buchannan, Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator at Littleton Hospital in ColoradoEllen Buchannan, RN, FNP, CBCN
    Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator
    Our Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator Ellen Buchannan, RN, FNP, CBCN is an invaluable resource to breast cancer patients, providing guidance in identifying needs – physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial – as well as offering advice pertaining to the disease process, physician options and health insurance details.


    Intraoperative radiation therapy in Littleton, ColoradoLittleton Adventist Hospital introduced Colorado’s first Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), an innovative form of radiation therapy for breast cancer patients with small, early-stage tumors. The treatment is called intraoperative radiation therapy because it can be given during a lumpectomy operation shortly after the tumor is removed. IORT can also be done as a second procedure if a patient prefers to have a lumpectomy at another hospital and then come to Littleton Adventist Hospital for the radiation portion of the treatment.

    The localized procedure, which is administered for 20 to 30 minutes, delivers radiation precisely to the tumor site with minimal exposure to surrounding tissues, which are shielded during the IORT. The procedure destroys microscopic tumor cells, reducing the risk that tumor cells will grow back.

    Littleton Adventist Hospital chose the Zeiss INTRABEAM® IORT system because it is backed by more than 13 years of successful clinical use, having treated more than 8,000 patients with early breast cancer. The system was also used in the highly reputable TARGIT-A Trial. The TARGIT-A Trial is the largest randomized clinical trial in the field of IORT. After the trial, researchers concluded that INTRABEAM IORT (concurrent with lumpectomy) should be considered as an option for certain patients with breast cancer as an alternative to postoperative traditional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).

    Compared to EBRT, INTRABEAM IORT offers several significant advantages: It directly targets the tumor bed with radiation, while minimizing radiation to healthy tissue; it can be administered concurrently with the lumpectomy, allowing less time for tumor cells to grow back; it can be administered in one day so it offers the potential for significantly faster recovery time and a return to your every day activities sooner; and it can be used in conjunction with a standard EBRT regimen as an additional boost treatment. Benefits of boost treatments include: very low recurrence rates, low rate of side effects, and very good cosmetic results.

    Compared to EBRT, Zeiss INTRABEAM® IORT offers the potential for:

    • A significantly faster treatment time – from an average of six weeks to a single dose during surgery
    • Reduced radiation exposure beyond the target site, sparing healthy breast tissue and surrounding organs
    • A ‘boost’ option available for patients undergoing traditional EBRT regimens
    • Highly targeted radiation dose to help prevent tumors from growing back
    • Faster recovery and return to your everyday activities

    As an NAPBC comprehensive breast cancer center, we believe the Littleton Adventist Hospital IORT program is consistent with our mission to improve care and quality of life for our breast cancer patients. The multidisciplinary program includes breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, medical physicists, surgical staff, and nurse navigators.


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