Dr. Jillard To The Breast-cue

Over coffee at 8am on a rainy weekday morning, Dr. Christa Jillard is apologizing for being (not even) ten minutes late to our meeting. Held up at the hospital, she was checking on a patient who will be released today.  She smiles broadly as she speaks, indicating how genuinely excited she is about this development. These are two distinguishing characteristics about her- she is genuine and she is committed.

Without a lab coat or surgical scrubs on, she remains professional, yet relaxed and natural. She is warm and animated and chases away any notion of a surgeon with a chilly bedside manner. She exudes a genuine passion and total commitment about the topics she is discussing, which are the possibilities and plans that she sees for women’s health in Savannah.

Dr. Jillard has recently opened a high-risk breast cancer clinic in Savannah. The clinic will provide risk assessment, education, counseling about treatment options and support for both patients and their families. She states with confidence, “When someone is identified as having a high risk. We can support them fully.”

Being female in the surgical world has taught her much about the importance of what it means to be relatable. She explains, “I feel an obligation to be able to relate to my patients and to bring the element of being able to understand (what it is that they are going through). I feel very strongly about the patient/physician relationship and extending empathy can go so far.”

Breast cancer touches close to home, with almost 230,000 women diagnosed with new cases each year in the US (as well as 2,300 men), almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by the disease.  Breast cancer has a familiar face; all too often it is the face of a loved one. The staggering statistics suggest that 1 in 8 women will face this disease in their lifetime. Dr. Jillard is working to change these statistics into success stories of survival. 

 

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