Nyack, N.Y. October 1, 2013 – Early detection, increased awareness and advances in treatment have shown to be an effective measure in the battle against breast cancer as there has been a decline in the number of deaths from breast cancer in recent years.

Women with breast cancer today have many treatment options. Doctors determine the best course of treatment based on a number of factors, including the size of the tumor, if or how far the disease has spread, whether the cancer depends on female hormones to grow and if there are other genetic markers that suggest the cancer is aggressive.  They also take into account the woman’s age, whether she has gone through menopause, her overall health, and her personal preferences.

The good news is that if breast cancer is caught in an early stage, before it spreads and begins to cause symptoms, the chances for a successful treatment are greatly increased.

Breast cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgery. A woman may have breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy. Immediate or delayed reconstruction may be an option, and is covered by insurance by NY state law.

  • Radiation therapy. High-energy rays or particles are used to destroy cancer cells. This treatment is often given after breast-conserving surgery, to reduce the odds the cancer will recur.

  • Chemotherapy. This is treatment with cancer-killing drugs, given either intravenously or orally.

  • Hormone therapy. Hormone-blocking medications are treatments that prevent cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow and multiply.

  • Targeted therapy. This treatment uses drugs or other substances to block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and development. Targeted drugs often have different and less severe side effects than traditional chemotherapy drugs.

“At Nyack Hospital, we offer a range of breast cancer treatment options, including a new testing method that helps us match women with the best possible treatment.” states Dr. Joseph.  “Genomic profiling is a method of testing a breast cancer tumor to analyze its genetic makeup," she says. “There are several tests available that may allow us to more accurately predict how aggressive a tumor might be.  This helps in determining whether a patient would benefit from chemotherapy, or whether they may not require chemotherapy and can avoid the associated side effects.”

The hospital is also offering a new surgical method. Nyack’s surgeons are performing a cutting-edge surgical technique that can be an option for some women depending on several factors.  It offers one of the best possible cosmetic outcomes from breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. The technique, called DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Pedicle) flap reconstructions, takes skin and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast with a woman's own tissue. None of the abdominal muscles are removed and women have a shorter recovery and hospitalization than they would with reconstructions that involve muscle flaps.

Dr. Joseph shares, “With treatment options that are continually improving and being made available to all women with breast cancer, the growing number of survivors is likely to continue increasing.”  Currently more than 2 million women in the United States have survived breast cancer. “Advances in treatments are also improving quality of life, something that positively affects the patient and their family.”

The Breast Center at Nyack Hospital has once again been granted a three-year/Full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.   Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance.  In addition, the Center has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). For more information about the services offered by the Breast Center at Nyack Hospital, please visit: www.nyackhospital.org/redefining/breast-care.html                       

Nyack Hospital is a 375-bed community acute care medical and surgical hospital located in Rockland County, NY. Founded in 1895, it is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has partnered with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine providing clinical rotations to third-year medical students. Its mission is to provide competent, innovative and accessible emergency and acute care services to the residents of Rockland County and surrounding areas.