Breast Cancer Symptoms, Treatment & Surgery
Questions About Breast Cancer?
We’re here to help. Contact our Breast Navigator, Betsy Rice, MSN, RN,CBCN, at 203-276-CARE. Press 5.
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World-Class Breast Cancer Care
Breast cancer is a diagnosis no woman hopes to face. That's why emotional support and compassionate, comprehensive breast cancer care are so important. Stamford Health’s Bennett Cancer Center is proud of its deepening relationship with Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. Through this unique and powerful collaboration, our patients will receive world-class, clinical expertise in a convenient, intimate, and personable setting. This means that for every aspect of your care, our local physicians will be working together with Dana-Farber physicians, providing multiple opinions right from the start, learning from the most recent clinical trials, and the most advanced evidence-based best practices and standards in cancer treatment and research.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer can start in one or both breasts. It occurs when cells begin to grow out of control Both men and women can get breast cancer.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
- Lump or mass
- Swelling of any part of the breast
- Skin dimpling
- Nipple changes (discharge, red skin, and more)
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collar bone
Some risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Family history
- Inherited gene mutations
- Age (risk increases as you get older)
- Race and ethnicity
- Having dense breast tissue
There are also lifestyle-related behaviors that can contribute to your overall risk like drinking alcohol, experiencing obesity, not being physically active, and more.
What makes breast cancer treatment at Stamford Health unique?
Stamford Health and the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center have teamed-up to provide patients with the cancer expertise they need without having to travel far. Through this collaboration, patients can expect:
- Access to more resources than ever before
- Access to leading DF/BCC expert physicians for second opinions and consultations
- Expanded options for treatment based on the latest research available through the collaborative
- Additional clinical trials available to you if you qualify
Stamford Health was the first health system in Connecticut to offer tomosynthesis, or 3D mammograms. This method of screening is quicker and uses less radiation. Still, we understand the anxiety involved in waiting for your results and next steps. That's why we make sure the Breast Center works with you to provide timely service and answers. When you come for a mammogram during normal business hours, you'll get same-day results. If needed, we can often schedule you for a breast biopsy right after your mammogram because your time counts.
Our team focuses on you and your course of treatment with full attention to detail. We meet frequently at multidisciplinary conferences, or tumor boards, to discuss individual patient cases. Specialists in medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, pathology, and genetics gather together to make the most optimal decisions possible for your breast health and breast cancer treatment.
When do you need surgery for breast cancer?
We might recommend breast surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy either alone or in combination to treat any breast tumors you may have. If you’re diagnosed with a tumor that requires immediate surgical treatment, we can book an appointment for you to see a surgeon within 24-36 hours. If you need breast surgery, our team will review options with you. Together, we work to come up with a plan best suited for you.
High-Risk Breast Cancer Program
If you’re considered high risk for breast cancer due to family history or other factors, we offer many services, including counseling by a dedicated High Risk Breast Navigator and genetic testing. We work together with the Breast Center to help assess your personal situation, level of risk, and management options tailored to your needs. Here’s what you should know about genetic testing for hereditary cancer symptoms:
- It’s available to you if we determine you’re at risk.
- Testing can help determine your risk for specific cancers so we can perform appropriate screening and risk reduction options.
- You’ll have direct contact with a full-time cancer genetic counselor. We encourage you to schedule a consultation for risk assessment, discussion of genetic testing, and possible screening recommendations.
Treatment Options for Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer
Specialized surveillance: If you’re at high risk for breast cancer, you can receive additional breast screenings. We use 3D mammograms, examined both by eye and with computer-assisted detection. In addition, we offer breast ultrasound and high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Chemopreventive therapy: You may also meet with a medical oncologist at the Bennett Cancer Center to discuss use of preventive (hormonal) therapy.
Adjuvant systemic therapies: After your cancer treatment, doctors may recommend hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.
On an ongoing basis, the Bennett Cancer Center’s Cancer Committee reviews, monitors and reports on quality-of-care measures established by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). See the results for breast cancer.