Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Empowering Women with a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

Posted on: January 16, 2017

Do you need a breast cancer risk assessment? If you are shaking your head “no” because you believe you have no breast cancer risk factors, prepare to be surprised. At least 75 percent of women in the U.S. who develop the disease are not high-risk; they are either low- or average-risk. That makes a breast cancer risk assessment essential for every woman. Here, I describe the crucial information you gain during an assessment, and how it empowers you to take action proven to substantially reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. By Dr. Karen Arthur, FACS, breast surgeon, Medical Director of The Breast Institute at Yorktown and Co-director of Northern Westchester Hospital’s new Breast Health Program.

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Know Your Cancer Risks Sooner…Have More Options

Posted on: December 19, 2016

Having a hereditary (also called genetic) predisposition to cancer raises your risk of developing cancer. That’s why it’s important to learn about your possible risk of a hereditary cancer syndrome through genetic counseling. Genetic counseling – which may lead to optional genetic testing – helps you understand your cancer risk so you can take steps to catch cancer early enough to make a difference, consider prophylactic medications or surgery to reduce your risk of developing cancer, and use the information to help you and your providers make the very best decisions about cancer treatment. By Nancy Cohen, MS, CGC (Certified Genetic Counselor) at the Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center, Northern Westchester Hospital.

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DCIS, The Most Common Type of Stage 0 Breast Cancer

Posted on: October 24, 2016

If you have not personally experienced non-invasive (Stage 0) breast cancer, you may not be sure what it is, how it’s detected, or what your treatment options are. What’s more, you may recall some controversy regarding the condition. Read on to get the facts and a great deal of comfort from the outstanding outcomes among women treated for DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ. By Anthony C. Cahan, MD, FACS, Chief of Breast Surgical Services at The Breast Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital

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Mammograms: An Effective Tool in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Posted on: May 13, 2015

Sandra Lee’s Diagnosis Has Many Women Asking: Should I Get a Mammogram?

Dr. Bonnie Litvack, Medical Director of the Women’s Imaging Center at Northern Westchester Hospital, answers questions many women have about when to start getting mammograms in light of the news that Food Network star and author Sandra Lee, who is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s partner, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

When should I start getting routine mammograms?
I, along with the American Cancer Society, recommend women start getting annual mammograms at the age of 40. I know there are differing opinions, but there is not a high incidence of breast cancer before the age of 40. There are some exceptions, of course, which I explain below.

What if I have a history of breast cancer in my family? Should I start getting mammograms earlier?
If you have a family history of breast cancer, whether it is your mother, aunt, or grandmother on either side of the family, you should start getting mammograms 10 years earlier than the age your family member was diagnosed. For example, if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35, you should begin to get mammograms at age 25. However, 25 is the youngest age that I would recommend a woman get a mammogram. If your mother was diagnosed at age 30, I’d still recommend you begin getting mammograms at age 25.

What if I feel a lump in my breast?
Call your doctor and make an appointment. Your doctor will make recommendations about next steps, including getting a mammogram, if deemed necessary.

How long does a mammogram take, and does it hurt?
Typically a mammogram only takes a few minutes. While some patients experience some discomfort, they are in the minority, and if they feel any pain, we manage it.

What if I have no family history of breast cancer? Do I still need to get mammograms?
Absolutely. In fact, 75%-80% of breast cancer diagnoses are with women with no family history.

How effective are mammograms?
They are very effective. Since 1990, mammograms have helped decrease the death rate among breast cancer patients by 15%-40% depending on which studies you read. That is an impressive and encouraging number given that up until 1980, the death rate was steady. Mammograms are an incredibly effective tool to detect breast cancer early, or to rule it out.

Editor’s Note:
Under the leadership of Dr. Bonnie Litvak, the Women’s Imaging Center at Northern Westchester Hospital has been acclaimed as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. She is fellowship trained in MRI and has extensive experience in all aspects of women’s imaging, including mammography.

Northern Westchester Hospital also offers 3-D mammography.

 

Study Shows Exercise Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer and Recurrence

Posted on: September 4, 2014

Take a Walk and Reduce Your Risk

A recent study found that postmenopausal women, who in the past four years had undertaken regular physical activity equivalent to at least four hours of walking per week, had a lower risk for invasive breast cancer compared with women who exercised less during those four years, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

At the Breast Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital, we encourage the entire health and wellness of our patients, whether it is prior to diagnosis, all the way through survivorship of breast cancer.

As part of the care we provide, we discuss prevention with our patients, as well as prevention of recurrence of breast cancer.  A sedentary lifestyle can impact a patient’s risk for developing breast cancer, so we encourage all of our patients to add exercise such as walking or bicycling to their regular routines if they are not already doing so.

A combination of exercise and a healthy diet will also help manage weight, another risk factor tied to developing breast cancer.  The following tips could help reduce developing breast cancer, as well as work to prevent developing a recurrence in our survivor population:

•    Regular exercise (walking, bicycling);
•    Weight reduction, if applicable;
•    Stop smoking.

This is good advice for all people, and it certainly applies to lowering one’s risk of developing breast cancer or a recurrence.

It is important that you have access to a full spectrum of experts skilled in the latest advancements in breast health.  Our team of dedicated professionals includes geneticists, radiologists, oncologists, cancer and reconstructive surgeons, integrative medicine practitioners and oncology nurses, each with experience and expertise in restoring women to their best possible health.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Philip Bonanno is Director of The Breast Institute and Director of Integrated Cancer Care at Northern Westchester Hospital