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.
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
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