According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer will strike one in eight women at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, many of these women have no known risk factors.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast lump or mass
Discharge from nipples
Swelling, skin irritation, or dimpling
Breast or nipple pain, thickening of the nipple or breast skin
A lump in the underarm area
Pain or abnormalities on the mammograms
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Hormone replacement therapy
Elevated estrogen levels
Early menstruation (before age 12) or late menopause (after age 55)
Never having been pregnant or having first baby after age 30
Exposure to radiation
A mother, grandmother, or sister who has had breast cancer
The latest breast imaging modalities and treatment options are available at Geisinger, including:
- Digital mammography
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast
- Breast ultrasound
- Minimally invasive biopsies
- Sterotactic biopsies
- 3D conformal radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Reconstructive surgery
With advanced technology, physicians are able to perform partial mastectomies and deliver radiation therapy in a shorter amount of time, sparing healthy breast tissue surrounding the tumor.
The Breast Program offers all of the advancements found in major metropolitan areas, with the convenience of being close to home. At right, the Trilogy linear accelerator enables Geisinger clinicians to offer more advanced treatment to more patients.
Women concerned that they may be at risk for breast cancer can enroll in Geisinger’s high-risk and family history program. Through genetic counseling and, if appropriate, genetic testing, the risk for breast cancer is evaluated. Women at high risk can take part in a cancer prevention program, which incorporates risk-reduction strategies such as medications or prophylactic surgery (in cases of extreme risk). In some cases, women may overestimate their risk, and genetic counseling can help alleviate fear through education.
Physician Team Leaders:
- Victor Vogel, MD, MHS, Director, Cancer Services, Medical Oncologist
- James Evans, MD, MPH, FACS, Breast Surgeon
- Laura Borgos, MD, FACS, Breast Surgeon
- Paula Ronjon, MD, Hematologist/Medical Oncologist
- Charles White, MD, Hematologist/Medical Oncologist
- Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist
- Uzma Malik, MD, Radiation Oncologist
The Geisinger Difference
Geisinger Health System’s Breast Cancer Program offers a specialized team approach to patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The program offers the following:
• Radiologists specially trained to read mammograms
• Early detection of precancerous or cancerous findings on mammograms
• Dedicated pathologists who pinpoint diagnosis
• Experienced oncologists who help establish the best treatment plan
• Specially trained breast surgeons
• Improved outcomes
A weekly conference brings breast cancer specialists together to review every newly diagnosed patient’s records and set forth an individualized treatment plan. Patients benefit from a treatment plan agreed on by all specialists, as well as the convenience of seeing each specialist during one appointment.
Breast Care Nurse Navigator
The nurse navigator becomes the breast cancer patient’s survivorship partner. Each nurse navigator is specially trained in breast disease and breast cancer care and offers the following support to patients:
• Coordinatation of appointments
• Scheduling of necessary tests
• Acting as an important resource for information
• Patient education
• Participation in support groups
• Accompanies patients to oncology appointments
Numbed by the news of breast cancer, Kim realized she had to fight. Her family and the staff of Geisinger were there to lead her through.
Below are links to some of the National Breast Cancer Information/Awareness sites.