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Patient Question

What Do You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Treatment?


Director, Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center

Expert Answer

Brian J. O'Hea, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology, and Director of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center, answers questions concerning what women need to know about seeking the optimum treatment for breast cancer.

What should an individual look for in a breast care center?
Perhaps most important is that it is a comprehensive center offering a multidisciplinary approach to care. Breast cancer treatment can be challenging, so having coordinated services, efficient processes, and seamless delivery of care can help provide the best patient experience. At the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center, patients are evaluated and an optimal course of treatment is determined. A comprehensive plan of care is then developed. Care is provided by a multidisciplinary disease management team made up of board-certified experts from key disciplines including surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, breast imaging, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and other fields as needed. Another factor to consider is the cohesiveness of the care. Diagnostics, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and support services are all available on the same campus at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Also, nurse navigators help guide our patients from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. This not only creates a smooth path for treatment delivery, it also helps alleviate stress and allows patients to focus their energy on healing.

What distinguishes Stony Brook?
Recently, the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center became the first and only breast center in New York State to earn a full three-year accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). The certification indicates that the Breast Care Center has undergone a rigorous evaluation, in which 27 different criteria were reviewed and analyzed, covering such areas as imaging, treatment options, breast conservation, staging, genetic evaluation, clinical trials, and quality outcomes. The Center met or exceeded all 27 standards, and there were no deficiencies. What this certification means to the average person seeking treatment is that state-of-the-art, world-class care can be found on Long Island. You don't need to drive long distances for expert care-the most advanced treatment options and some of the nation's top doctors are right here at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

What are some of the latest treatment options?
One of the more promising options available at Stony Brook is MammoSite®, partial breast irradiation via a catheter and implanted seeds directly to the cancer sites. Treatment involves five days of highly targeted radiation versus the more traditional five to six weeks of daily whole breast radiation. Also, Stony Brook participates in TAILORx, a trial that can determine if chemotherapy is the best course of treatment by analyzing 21 different genes in an individual in which cancer is expressed. Stony Brook is also one of just eight facilities in the world testing tomosynthesis equipment that can provide a three-dimensional image of the breast, ideal for detecting cancer in dense breasts.

Is there any good news about breast cancer?
Actually, there's quite a lot. In the last 10 years, imaging and treatment modalities have become much more refined. Cancer is being caught in its earliest stages. Treatments are becoming less invasive. And, for the first time, breast cancer deaths have decreased in this country.

Four Things Every Woman Can Do About Breast Cancer

  • Be scrupulous about scheduling annual screening mammograms (and clinical exams) after the age of 40.
  • Perform monthly breast self-examinations.
  • If you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, seek the BRCA genetic testing. Once you know your risk, you can take preventive measures and risk reduction steps that may prevent cancer from occurring.
  • If you are scheduled to have a surgical biopsy, inquire about having a needle biopsy instead. Core needle biopsy is the preferred initial breast biopsy method.

To contact the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center, call (631) 638-1000.


For Additional Information Contact (631) 444-4000

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The Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians website is primarily an informational and educational resource. It should not be used in place of medical advice and recommendations you receive from your health care provider. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please seek the advice of your health care provider.

Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians provides marketing advice and consultation to the clinical Faculty associated with the University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs). It does not provide medical care directly or indirectly nor does it oversee, direct, manage or supervise the medical care provided by any of the individual Practices. The individual Practices are responsible for the medical care each Practice provides to its patients. Please note that the Practices listed below are separate University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs).