A Patient’s Guide to Breast Health

The Basics of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is, simply put, a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray (mammogram) or felt as a lump in the breast. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer as well.

It is important to understand that most breast lumps are benign (not cancerous). They are not life threatening, though some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Any breast lump or change should be checked by a physician to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancerous), and whether or not it will affect your future cancer risk.

Types of Breast Cancer

There are many different types of breast cancer. Common types include ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma. Others, like phyllodes tumors and angiosarcoma are less common. The American Cancer Society provides a comprehensive overview of types of breast cancer.

A breast cancer diagnosis often involves a biopsy, in which a small sample of tumor tissue is tested for specific proteins that indicate the presence of cancer. The tumor cells are also closely looked at in the lab to determine the tumor “grade.” The specific proteins found and the tumor grade can help physicians and patients decide among treatment options.

To learn more about specific types of breast cancer and tests done on the breast cancer cells, read “Understanding a Breast Cancer Diagnosis” from the American Cancer Society.

Estimating Your Breast Cancer Risk

The National Cancer Institute offers an online risk assessment tool based on a statistical model. The tool uses a woman’s own personal information to estimate risk of developing invasive breast cancer over specific periods. Access this tool at bcrisktool.cancer.gov/calculator.html

This assessment is not meant to be a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Advanced Radiology supports the guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology  and the American College of Radiology that recommend women have a mammogram performed annually beginning at age 40. All mammograms at Advanced Radiology are interpreted by subspecialized and fellowship-trained breast Radiologists.

Early Detection Saves Lives

According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes performing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling annual clinical breast exams and mammograms.

To request an appointment for your annual mammogram, click here.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s instructions for performing a breast self-exam can be found here.

Breast Cancer Stages

Once a person is determined to have a malignant tumor or the diagnosis of breast cancer, the healthcare team will determine breast cancer staging to communicate how far the disease has progressed.

After a breast cancer diagnosis, your doctor will try to determine if the cancer has spread, and if so, how far. This process is called staging. The stage of a cancer describes how much cancer is in the body, how serious the cancer is, and how best to treat it. Doctors also use a cancer’s stage when talking about survival statistics.

Learn more about breast cancer stages here.

Treatment Options

There are five basic breast cancer treatment options, and most treatment plans include a combination of surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. Some are local, targeting just the area nearest the tumor. Others are systemic, engaging your entire body with cancer fighting agents.

Your individual treatment begins with the selection of your treatment team. Finding the right team, one consisting of medical professionals whom you trust, makes a big difference in how your treatment will progress. Your physicians should certainly be knowledgeable, but they should also welcome your questions and be able to maintain your trust as guide and advisor.

Local Area Breast Surgeons

Brigid Killelea, MD, MPH, FACS
Director of Breast Surgery/Fairfield Region, Director of Clinical Integration
St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s Cancer Center; Breast Center
2800 Main Street, 4th Floor, Bridgeport , CT 06606

Anthy Demesthias, MD
St. Vincent’s Multispecialty Group
2660 Main Street, Suite 110, Bridgeport , CT 06606

Felix B. Mpuku, MD
3180 Main Street, Suite 305, Bridgeport , CT 06606

Richard Zelkowitz, MD, Medical Oncologist
2800 Main Street, Bridgeport , CT 06606

Richard Garvey, MD
General Surgeons of Greater Bridgeport
310 Mill Hill Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06610

Mehra Golshan, MD
Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center
111 Beach Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfield, CT 06824

5520 Park Avenue, Suite 500
Trumbull, CT 06611

Bridgeport Hospital
267 Grant Street
Bridgeport, CT 06610

Andrew S. Kenler, MD
Park Avenue Surgical Associates
5520 Park Avenue, Suite 207, Trumbull, CT 06611

Jeanne Capasse, MD, FACS
Director of Breast Surgery
Co-Director, Smilow Family Breast Center
Western Connecticut Medical Group/
Surgical Breast Center of Connecticut
148 East Avenue, Suite 2L, Norwalk, CT 06851

Mandy Greenberg, MD, FACS
Medical Director, High Risk Program
Western Connecticut Medical Group/
Surgical Breast Center of Connecticut
148 East Avenue, Suite 2L, Norwalk, CT 06851

Kathleen A. LaVorgna, MD, FACS
General Surgery, Chief of Surgery
Western Connecticut Medical Group
30 Stevens Street, Suite D, Norwalk, CT 06856

Denise Barajas, MD, FACS
Medical Director
Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness
Griffin Hospital
350 Seymour Avenue, Suite 103, Derby, CT 06418
Tel.: 203.732.7233
Fax: 203.732.4141

Helen Pass, MD, FACS
Director of Breast Surgery
Co-Director, Women’s Breast Center
Stamford Health Medical Group
32 Strawberry Hill Court, 4th Floor, Suite 8, Stamford, CT 06902

Valerie Brutus, MD, FACS
Stamford Health Medical Group
32 Strawberry Hill Court, 4th Floor, Suite 8, Stamford, CT 06902

Carol Baird, APRN
Stamford Health Medical Group
32 Strawberry Hill Court, 4th Floor, Suite 8, Stamford, CT 06902

Women’s Imaging at Advanced Radiology

Breast Imaging Overview

Mammography and 3D Breast Tomosynthesis

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Breast MRI

Breast Elastography

If you have any other questions, or need additional information, contact us here.