Riley-Tree Cancer Center is illuminated in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. | Credit: Courtesy

Press releases are posted on as a free community service.

October 6, 2022 (Santa Barbara, CA) Ridley-Tree Cancer Center is going PINK for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Pink lights will illuminate the building at 540 West Pueblo Street in Santa Barbara during October to commemorate those lost to breast cancer, and to honor breast cancer patients and their families, as well as medical professionals and researchers working to find a cure.  The pink glow was generously funded by Sansum Clinic’s Women’s Health Initiative.  Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, likely to affect one in eight women, according to the American Cancer Society.

“We encourage individuals to be proactive, and to schedule their annual breast screenings,” commented Matt Baumann, DBA, MBA, Vice President of Oncology. “We want people in our community to know that if they receive a breast cancer diagnosis, our multidisciplinary team is best-equipped to walk them through every stage of their journey.” Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides the most comprehensive breast cancer care on the central coast. Our multidisciplinary team of experts offer advanced breast imaging and the latest surgical, medical and radiation oncology treatments for breast cancer.  A wide range of supportive care and wellness programs provide patients with every opportunity for successful treatment and recovery.  Below are some points patients should consider when deciding where to receive their breast healthcare.

Where you receive your mammogram and breast screenings, the level of technology, and who is reading the results, matters. Sansum Clinic’s Imaging Department has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR,) recognizing our top-of-the-line technology and high level of accuracy when detecting breast abnormalities before symptoms begin. The department provides the full spectrum of state-of-the-art breast imaging services to our community at the highest standards of the imaging profession. Fellowship-trained breast radiologist Winifred Leung, MD specializes in breast imaging including 3D mammograms, automated breast ultrasound, breast MRI, image-guided biopsy and breast needle localization. Dr. Leung focuses her entire practice solely on breast imaging, allowing her to gain a deep level of knowledge and expertise, while staying current on research in her field. She closely coordinates with oncologists and surgeons at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. She leads the Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance, which provides patients with the collective knowledge of Santa Barbara County’s diverse team of breast cancer experts.

“An annual breast screening is so important to catching cancer early, when it is more treatable,” says Dr. Leung. “Millions of women skipped important breast screenings during the pandemic. This is critical because we know this imaging saves lives.”

A multidisciplinary approach to treating breast cancer care leads to the best outcomes. Experience and training is important when selecting the team which will guide your breast cancer experience.  Breast surgery, together with medical and/or radiation oncology, are the mainstays of breast cancer care. These specialists collaborate to create a personalized treatment breast cancer plan for each patient, and they can have face-to-face discussions since they work in the same location.

“Our multidisciplinary approach to fighting breast cancer gives women the best chance for a good outcome,” commented Eric Bank, MD, Medical Oncologist.

It is important for breast cancer patients to have hope, because breast cancer is curable and treatable. We can take good care of them no matter their individual circumstanceWe treat the person, not just the cancer, by supporting patients in so many ways,” said Katrina Mitchell, MD, IBCLC, PMH-C, fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist and  board-certified lactation consultant.

When radiation therapy is part of treatment for breast cancer, the level of technology and the team delivering it impacts effectiveness and safety.  Our center’s state-of-the-art linear accelerators deliver sophisticated, image-guided radiation therapy.  Ridley-Tree’s Radiation Oncology Department, which includes radiation oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and nurses, is accredited by the world’s premier radiation oncology society for its exceptionally safe, high-quality care to patients. 

“Radiation therapy decreases the risk that the cancer ever returns in the breast. The radiation removes any residual amounts that might be left behind. The better the technology, the better we can target the area we want to treat, and avoid areas we do not want to treat,” explained Shane Cotter, PhD, MD, Radiation Oncologist.

Breast cancer patients and their families have an easier time when there is extra support. Ridley-Tree’s patient navigators help patients and their loved ones understand diagnosis and treatment information, and act as a bridge to the various physicians and medical team members. Social workers, oncology dietitian nutritionists and wellness instructors assist patients to better manage their treatment and symptoms, as well as the financial and social complications of cancer, so they can move more quickly toward physical and emotional healing and recovery. Added services like Paxman scalp-cooling technology, a wig boutique and acupuncture help patients to manage the toll of treatment, preserve their self-image and feel more like themselves.

Clinical research has fueled the greatest advancements in breast cancer care in recent years. Overall breast cancer mortality rates have slowly gone down since 1999, and many working in oncology link this to advancements in research. Ridley-Tree’s Clinical Research Department gives patients access to clinical trials at leading cancer and academic centers around the world, and recently opened a radiation oncology clinical trial for breast cancer patients.

“It’s exciting to have a trial that is on the leading edge of how we make important decisions about radiation treatment, and to be working alongside many trial sites and large academic centers,” remarks Shane Cotter, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncologist.  “We always look forward to opening studies that we think ask the best questions, and best serve the patients in our community.”

Members of the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center team of healthcare providers and staff wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. | Credit: Courtesy

Knowing your family history of breast cancer is important. Patients with a family history of breast cancer may benefit from genetic counseling to determine their risk. Some gene mutations can increase risk for breast cancer, like the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations which account for as many as half of all hereditary breast cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Ridley-Tree’s genetic counselors help patients understand complex genetic information and coordinate with a patient’s oncologists and surgeons on how best to incorporate the results into their care and treatment.   

“Genetic counseling is not only important for someone with a cancer diagnosis, but it can also be incredibly helpful for their family members when making decisions about what screening options they have, and what they can do to help prevent cancer or catch it early,” shared Danielle Sharaga, MS, LCGC, Genetic Counseling Program Manager

Many of the programs which support breast cancer patients at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center would not be possible without support from the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara (CFSB.) From the Walk/Run to the Rancheros Vistadores Tough Enough to Wear Pink ride, the foundation has a rich history of hosting community fundraisers which provide critical funding for the cancer center.  CFSB is the financial fuel for Ridley-Tree’s state-of-the-art technology, clinical research, supportive care and wellness departments.

“These services are available to all breast cancer patients who reside in Santa Barbara County regardless of where they receive treatment or their ability to pay,” explained Lori Willis, Executive Director, Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara.

For more information on RTCC’s breast cancer program, visit

For more information on scheduling a mammogram, visit


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.