Elizabeth Jekot, M.D., the founder and medical director of the Elizabeth Jekot, M.D. Breast Imaging Center, is also a breast cancer survivor.
Women who visit the Elizabeth Jekot, M.D. Breast Imaging Center in Richardson, TX, get more than excellent healthcare and expert medical attention; they walk into an environment that was conceived and designed to be a soothing and compassionate place. “We wanted to create a very warm, loving center,” said Elizabeth Jekot, M.D., founder and medical director, “a patient-centered, love-based practice, in a soft, nonthreatening environment.”
Established in 2005, the center combines personalized, expert breast care with cutting-edge technology. “We are dedicated to breast health and stamping out breast disease,” said Dr. Jekot, “and detecting breast cancer at its earliest stages offers the best possible prognosis.”
A Personal Journey
Dr. Jekot’s passion for this cause was sparked by her sister’s diagnosis with breast cancer when Dr. Jekot was in her radiology residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. “Mary was first diagnosed at age 32 and again at age 37,” Dr. Jekot recalled. Mary's initial diagnosis prompted Jekot to pursue a fellowship in breast imaging and devote her professional career to the early detection of breast cancer.
Unfortunately, subspecializing in the diagnosis of breast cancer did not confer immunity from the disease. In October 2000, Dr. Jekot, at age 37, was diagnosed with breast cancer while serving as medical director at the Center for Women’s Health at Richardson Regional Medical Center. Although small, the tumor was high grade. Given the grade of the tumor, and coupled with her family history, she opted for bilateral mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy. “The experience made me exceedingly empathetic to not only the physical challenges involved with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, but also the emotional tolls the disease has on the patient and their loved ones,” she said. “It also afforded me the opportunity to realize the many unexpected blessings cancer can bring.”
Better Technology Means Better Detection
Her personal experience and dedication to early detection led Dr. Jekot to research the technologies available that would best serve her patients. “I knew that digital technology was the best mammographic tool to maximize early detection for our patients and I wanted the hospital to go digital,” she said. Unfortunately, the hospital administrators informed her that they would be unable to make the move to digital for at least two more years. “I knew I could not wait that long,” Dr. Jekot said. “I felt I owed it to my patients to provide them with the best technology available. So, I left the hospital to build my own comprehensive breast imaging center.”
In 2005, along with her sister Rosanne Jekot, MHSA, administrator at the Jekot Center, they opened the doors to the Elizabeth Jekot, M.D. Breast Imaging Center. “It was truly a leap of faith — off a seemingly high cliff,” she recalled.
“It’s a personal mission,” said Rosanne, “a dream, to create a practice that addressed an issue, cancer, which has had such an impact on our family. She has literally built her dream here.”
For her center, Dr. Jekot wanted the finest equipment in order to provide the best service possible. “Our philosophy was always, ‘the highest quality care in both technology and services.’ I had researched all the equipment while I was at the hospital, and found that Hologic offered the best available.”
The Jekot Center installed two Hologic Selenia digital mammography systems, as well as a Hologic MultiCare Platinum stereotactic biopsy table. “I wanted to do this right,” Dr. Jekot said. “I did my homework and found the best. The image quality is superior and the Hologic soft copy workstation is very user-friendly.”
Being a comprehensive breast center, the Jekot Center also has the tools necessary to perform tissue sampling procedures. Dr. Jekot routinely uses the ATEC breast biopsy system from Suros Surgical Systems Inc. “ATEC affords us the flexibility to biopsy each lesion using the most appropriate imaging device,” said Dr. Jekot, “whether it be with stereotactic, ultrasound or MRI guidance.” By offering MultiCare Platinum together with the ATEC system, the women in the northern Dallas/Fort Worth communities have access to the most advanced breast biopsy technology on the market today.
“The people at Hologic are exactly the kind of people you want to have working with you on a project like this,” said Rosanne.
“There are so many advantages to working with Hologic’s digital mammography units,” said Kristin Willits, R.T.(R)(M), director of Technical Operations. “Analog just can’t compete. With digital we have no cassettes or buckys to switch out, and no film processing time. Plus, the patients love the equipment and the increased efficiency it provides.”
Immediate image rendering reduces the time it takes for the average visit by half. It also means that patients are not recalled from the dressing areas if the technologist needs to retake images. “If we need to repeat an image,” Willits said, “it can be done before they leave the examination room, making patients feel more confident, and less stressed.”
Dedicated to Service
Dr. Jekot recognizes that you can’t launch a project of this magnitude without quality equipment and support. “Hologic has been fabulous to work with,” she said. “With them, customer service is a very high priority, no matter how small the detail.”
Coordinating the installation of the new equipment with the demands of a construction schedule meant flexibility and commitment. “Our account manager from Hologic went out of her way to accommodate our scheduling needs. It was a beneficial...and headache-free experience,” said Rosanne.
Dr. Jekot sees Hologic as more of a partner than an equipment vendor. “As an individual without the clout or buying power of a hospital behind me, I felt like the proverbial ‘little guy.’ Hologic treated me like anything but a little guy,” Dr. Jekot said. “Their demonstration of respect and responsiveness, from my sales representative all the way to the president, Rob Cascella, made me feel like a heavy hitter. You can tell they are not just selling great equipment; they are cultivating long lasting relationships.”
In addition to the two Selenia digital mammography systems, and a MultiCare stereotactic biopsy table, the Jekot Center also has a Hologic QDR bone density table. This allows the Center to offer a more complete range of health services for their patients.
According to Dr. Jekot, the need for bone density examinations is just as important to women’s health as mammography. “Just as many women die from complications of osteoporosis, potentially a preventable disease, as from breast cancer. An average of 24 percent of hip fracture patients age 50 and older die within a year following their fracture,” said Dr. Jekot.
“Hologic is the leader in bone density technology,” said Willits. “The application is very quick and easy to use. We can do four different scan sequences in less than 15 minutes. It also has a nice padded table, providing a soft surface to lie on. The patients are very comfortable.”
Willits points out that, keeping in line with the Hologic tradition, “the images available from the QDR bone density system are fabulous. It seems as though everything Hologic makes produces great images.”
A Special Kind of Care
For the women who come to the Elizabeth Jekot, M.D. Breast Imaging Center, their experience is about more than the equipment and technologies. It’s about the relationship they have with their physician — Dr. Jekot.
“My sister has gone through what a lot of these patients have gone through,” Rosanne said, “and they know she’s the real thing. As one patient said, ‘The way your sister treats me is the way all doctor/patient relationships should be.’”
Note: Dr. Jekot wishes to point out that thanks to early detection and treatment, she has remained cancer free for five and a half years, and her sister Mary has been cancer free for 10 years, and it has been 15 years since her first diagnosis.