I recently had the opportunity to work with Dr. Elizabeth Thompson and her team. She was in Orlando, chaperoning her daughter’s swim team. Dr. Thompson is a radiation oncologist, patient advocate and entrepreneur, specializing in women’s health and patient navigation.
Dr. Thompson was ahead of her time, undergoing prophylactic mastectomies back in 2006. The experience of recovering from led her to begin working in a reconstructive surgery practice, helping other women with the difficult decision-making and recovery from breast surgery, giving her personal exposure to the patient experience.
As an athlete, physician, mother and patient, Dr. Thompson felt that while the surgeries and radiation treatment for breast cancer have rapidly evolved (and had even been revolutionized), the garments and post-surgery care she could offer to her patients undergoing radiation therapy and surgery had not changed since the 1970s.
Patients were concerned and confused about their surgeries, asking: “What should I bring to the hospital?” “How can I manage with young children and work?” “What bra should I wear after my surgery to maximize the cosmetic outcome?” “When can I begin to exercise again?”
Dr. Thompson decided to design a fashionable line of bags complete with medical, personal care and other products, plus bras and surgical accessories for the modern age of breast treatment. She called her company Best Friend’s for Life (BFFL). Her mission: to develop products and services that improve the patient experience before, during and after hospitalization, improves the patient experience in a way that preserves dignity and enhances recovery—and to create a website to provide easily accessible information for individuals and family members of those contemplating and facing surgery.
The Breast BFFLBag® was launched in 2011 to enhance comfort for the breast cancer patient experience. In it, patients will find toiletries and skin care kits, axilla•pilla®, an expandable folder for organization of important papers and cards, wound care packet and more.
Dr. Thompson also noticed that bras specifically designed for women undergoing surgery or radiation did not exist. She then launched the Masthead® Bra line, designed for women wanting a comfortable bra either after surgery or while undergoing radiation treatment.
Following the Breast BFFLBag® success, Dr. Thompson launched other bags, including:
· Neuro/Brain BFFLBag®
· Mommy/Delivery BFFLBag®
· GYN/Ovarian BFFLBag®
· Prostate BFFLBag®
· Transplant BFFLBag®
For each condition-related BFFLBag® sold, BFFL Co. donates 15% of the proceeds to a charity providing research and support for that condition. Participating organizations include Harvard School of Public Health Women’s and Health Initiative, Friends Fighting Breast Cancer, and IAVA.
For details go to http://bfflco.com
Dr. Thompson lives in Westchester County, NY with her husband and four children. She received her BA from Yale University, followed by her MD at Johns Hopkins University, specializing in Surgical Gynecology. She also received her Master in Public Health at Harvard University School of Public Health. She has postdoctoral training from UCSD in Gynecology and Obstetrics as well as from Harvard Medical School in Radiation Oncology. She is active in the Harvard School of Public Health Leadership Council, Johns Hopkins University Medical School Alumni Council, and Mt. Sinai Dubin Cancer Center Advisory Board.
It’s great to see a doctor dedicated to helping improve our quality of life; an important aspect of cancer care that’s often overlooked. Keep up the great work, Dr. Thompson!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat