Every month, we feature a physician as an opportunity for the community 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. Jilma Patrick, fellowship-trained breast surgeon with Little Company of Mary’s Medical Group (2800 West 95th Street, Evergreen Park). Read on to get to know Dr. Patrick, including why she became a breast surgeon and what she does outside the office.
Dr. Jilma Patrick
708-229-4050 (Primary Office)
- Medical School: Meharry Medical College
- Residency: University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville
- Fellowship: Northwestern University Breast Surgical Oncology
Why did you decide to become a breast surgeon?
Prior to medical school, I was on a track-and-field scholarship to Morgan State University in Baltimore. During the senior year of my undergrad, I met a breast cancer researcher from the NIH who recruited me for a summer job. I spent a year and a half at the NIH and I knew at that point I wanted to continue to pursue a career in the field of breast oncology. After completing my general surgery residency, I knew breast surgery was my true calling and completed my fellowship training in breast surgery at Northwestern University.
What do you look forward to the most in working with the patients at LCMH?
I’m very excited to be joining the Comprehensive Breast Health Center. After attending the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk this May, I felt an immediate sense of community. The warmth and dedication of those who organize and participate in the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk speaks volumes. Little Company of Mary has welcomed me with open arms and I’m looking forward to getting established and meeting people in the community.
How will you work with the other medical specialties to make it convenient for women getting treatment at LCMH?
A multidisciplinary team for cancer care, including diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, plastic surgeons, a breast nurse navigator, and a clinical trials coordinator, was already in place when I arrived. It truly is a privilege to join and work with them 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 LCMH 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 LCMH. I am honored to be a part of this rich tradition.
If you hadn’t become a physician, what would you be doing?
I was born and raised in the Virgin Islands and spent my time prior to medical school growing my skills as a track-and-field athlete. I competed in the 4×100-meter relay in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA. I have an interest in music and played the alto saxophone throughout high school and some of college. If I hadn’t become a physician, I would most likely have continued down the path of an athlete or further explored music options.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
In addition to exercising and staying active, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching movies and playing video games.