CHRISTUS, Providing Breast Cancer Awareness and Care


October is Breast Cancer awareness month.  The team at Christus St. Michael W. Temple Webber Cancer Center wants you to know you are in good hands.  They will be there for you every step of the way. Starting with Diagnostic Patient Navigation and all the way through recovery.  They even have cancer support groups.

One of the first people you will meet is Shelly Purifoy, a Diagnostic Patient Navigator and Breast and Cervical Care Navigator. She helps navigate ladies that have had abnormal mammograms through to biopsy and on to the surgeon, if needed.

“I help navigate them by letting them know what to do next.  Because most people come in and aren’t really sure” said Purifoy.

She makes sure no one falls through the cracks, insured or not, she makes sure they get the help they need. Purifoy has several grants in place to help with people who are not insured or that simply cannot afford the costs.

One of the next people you will meet is Tammy McKamie, Genetic Educator.  McKamie does genetic counseling for hereditary cancer syndromes and patient education for patients starting radiation and chemo therapy.  She educates the patients as well as their families in knowing what to expect as far as side effects the patient may have.

 “We have this program to help alleviate any fears that the patients and their families might have and help them to better deal with the situation.” Said McKamie.

She makes sure nobody is left in the dark about anything that may happen during the course of their treatments.

“We have many different resources for our patients right here in the cancer center.  We provide financial assistance, genetic testing and counseling, social and nutritional services, spiritual counseling and support groups.” Said McKamie.

Dr. Omar Ishaq is the Radiation Oncologist, at the W. Temple Radiation Center.  He is fairly new to the area, transferring from New York University Medical Center in August. Since taking the position, he has made it a point to get the best equipment available to insure that he is doing his job to the best of his ability.

“To most people 1 millimeter versus 2 millimeters isn’t much different, to me it’s everything, because we’re dealing with people’s lives and the quality of the rest of their lives.” Said Dr. Ishaq.

 Dr. Ishaq has extensive experience across a wide range of treatment modalities including: 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, Con Beam CT-Based Image Guided Radiation Therapy, and High Dose Radiation Therapy for Breast, Lung, and Gynecological procedures.  

“There isn’t a cookie cutter approach to cancer treatment, each patient is individual, and will be treated differently.” Said Dr. Ishaq.

Christus St. Michael is a comprehensive cancer center, meaning they provide many types of cancer treatment in one location.  Not only do they treat breast cancer, but also all other types of cancer as well as provide support services.

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