Section: Barnabas Health News

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month Barnabas Health urges you to Make Your Breast Health a Priority


Long Branch, NJ, October 1, 2015--- Barnabas Health is on a Pink Crusade to encourage women to make their breast health a priority during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. Additionally, breast cancer fatalities have been in decline since 1989 and are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.

“It’s critical for women to take charge of their breast health as detecting early stages of breast cancer gives you the best diagnosis,” says Sumy H. Chang, MD, FACS, a fellowship-trained board-certified breast surgeon on staff at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch and Community Medical Center in Toms River.

While there is no “magic bullet” in terms of preventing breast cancer, women can reduce their risk for developing the disease by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a balanced diet – all of which can help aid the recovery process if cancer is detected. Barnabas Health offers helpful information to help women stay on top of their breast health.

When is the last time you have really looked at your breasts? By being aware of your breasts, you’ll more likely recognize irregularities such as a lump or a change in the shape, size and texture. If you note a change, make an appointment with your doctor.

Self Breast Exams
Perform regular, self breast exams to note any changes. The National Cancer Foundation offers information on conducting regular self breast exams in different ways: in front of the mirror, in the shower or lying down.

Know Your Risk
At you high risk? Key high risk factors are a strong family history, radiation exposure to the breast – chest wall and neck; and testing positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Some women with these gene mutations may opt for a bilateral mastectomy – removal of both breasts – if she has cancer in one breast but not the other. Dr. Chang says it’s because the risk of eventually developing breast cancer in the other breast is higher for women who are BRCA-positive. “It’s a personal decision and offers peace of mind for many women.”

Get Annual Screening Mammograms Beginning at Age 40
Mammograms – still considered the gold standard in breast cancer screening – are a low dose X-ray procedure that allows visualization of the internal structure of the breast. This type of mammogram is used for women at average risk and no signs or symptoms of the disease. The goal is to find breast cancer when it’s too small to be felt by a woman or her physician.

Typical mammograms are two-dimensional – the breast is compressed in two different planes, for a total of two views per breast.

Jorge Pardes, M.D., for the Women’s Imaging Center at Community Medical Center in Toms River and the Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Centers at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, and its Southern Campus in Lakewood, says women should begin mammogram screening at age 40 and receive subsequent mammograms annually. Those at higher risk for breast cancer – with first-degree relatives who have been impacted by the disease, and/or other risk factors – should discuss options with their physician.

Dense Breasts?
Women with dense breasts often have difficulty with the reliability of screening with mammography alone. A relatively new law in New Jersey requires insurance providers to cover a second screening modality for women with extremely dense breast tissue. The only way to establish the degree of breast density is by mammography.

Dr. Pardes says that radiologists are mandated to classify breast density using four categories when evaluating mammograms. The categories describe the relative proportion of fibroglandular tissue (which is white on mammography) to fat (which is gray on mammography) in the breast.

“When breasts are predominately fatty (or the least dense), mammogram images are fairly simple to interpret. When more glandular tissue is present (or when breast density is higher), mammography images become more difficult to read,” says Dr. Pardes. “On a mammogram, normal glandular tissue is white, and tumors are also white, making it difficult sometimes to discern between healthy and potentially harmful tissue.”

In the case of imaging dense breasts, additional diagnostic testing, such as breast ultrasound or Breast MRI, are usually recommended.

To schedule an appointment for your annual mammogram at the Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center in Long Branch, or at one of its satellite breast centers in Howell, Lakewood or Colts Neck, call 732.923.7700. To schedule an appointment at the Women’s Imaging Center in Toms River and Whiting, call 732.557.8150.

Early detection saves lives. Schedule your annual mammogram today. Appointments can be made online by visiting the Pink Crusade website at

About Barnabas Health
Barnabas Health is the largest not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system in New Jersey and one of the largest in the region, with more than two million patient visits and delivery of more than 20,000 babies annually. The system includes seven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston (four are teaching hospitals); two children’s hospitals, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, a trauma center, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and four accountable care organizations. As the second-largest private employer in New Jersey, Barnabas Health includes more than 21,000 employees, over 5,200 physicians, and 500 residents and interns.

CONTACT: Carrie Cristello

Categories: Cancer,Press Releases,Women's Health