Every month, we feature a physician as an opportunity for you to learn more about the great doctors on staff at Little Company of Mary Hospital. This month, we had the chance to talk with Dr. Taft, a breast surgeon at Little Company of Mary Hospital (2800 West 95th Street). Read on to get to know Dr. Taft, including why she became a breast surgeon, what she enjoys most about being a physician, and her love of horses.
- Board Certification: General Surgery
- Education: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
- Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin, General Surgery
- Fellowship: Northwestern University, Breast Surgical Oncology
Why did you decide to become a physician?
I started my career as a registered nurse and after several years was offered a position working with a cardiac surgeon assisting him in the operating room. There, the dream of becoming a surgeon was born. It seemed a far reach at the time, but determination and perseverance paid off.
How did you choose the breast surgery specialty?
I started my own practice in Florida and before long, I realized that women were traveling two and three hours to come and see a woman surgeon for their breast concerns. I decided that if I was going to take care of them, I wanted to be an expert in breast surgery and was accepted at one of the best programs in the country for another year of specialized training in breast surgery.
What do you look forward to the most in working with the patients at Little Company of Mary?
In the few months since I arrived on the South Side of Chicago, I have been humbled by the welcome I have received by the hospital and the community. As I meet the residents of this community, I continue to be amazed. The warmth and the dedication of those who organize and participate in the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk speaks volumes.
How will you work with the other medical specialties (radiation oncology, mammography, etc.) to make it convenient for women getting treatment at LCM?
A multidisciplinary team for cancer care was already in place when I arrived. It has been a privilege to join them and work with to make treatment options and procedures as convenient as we can for our patients.
What are the main risk factors for breast cancer and what can women do now to help lower that risk?
A “risk factor” is anything that increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Many of the most important risk factors for breast cancer are age, family history, and medical history. However, there are some risk factors you can control, such as weight, physical activity, and alcohol consumption.
The most important thing is to see your doctor annually and practice early detection techniques such as breast self exams and regular mammograms. Women know their own bodies, so if you feel that something is not right, see your doctor.
As a new physician at Little Company, what have you noticed is the best thing Little Company of Mary has to offer patients?
There is no need to leave this community to find the latest state-of-the-art technology and treatment plans because LCM has proven they can offer it all. This hospital has a dedicated team of physicians and staff whose mission is to provide the very best care to their patients and their families. This is in line with my philosophy of care and is one of the main reasons I joined the multidisciplinary team here at LCM. I am honored to be a part of this rich tradition.
What do you enjoy most about being a physician?
I love interacting with the patients and find it rewarding to assist them in navigating through some difficult decision making in such a way that they have confidence and peace with the direction of their care. I feel it is a privilege to be their surgeon.
If you hadn’t become a physician, what would you be doing?
I love Public Relations and Marketing so if I was not a surgeon I think that you would find me working in a healthcare setting in that capacity.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
I really enjoy keeping fit by swimming and biking. I grew up on a horse farm and love to ride but find that difficult with limited amount of free time. Cooking is also a passion which I like to share with family and friends.
Check out photos from a Wine and Cheese welcome reception for Dr. Taft.