Breast Oncology Treatment Options
Providing women high quality care in an environment that respects and recognizes the sensitivity of women’s breast needs
Hackensack Meridian Health breast surgery experts are committed to a standard of unmatched excellence and expertise upheld through innovation, collaborative research, and clinical trials. Our program offer a range of procedures for the treatment of malignant and non-malignant conditions, all of which are performed in a caring, comforting setting that respects the unique needs and concerns of every patient.
The Hackensack Meridian Health Breast Oncology Division includes experts in surgery, medical oncology, pathology, radiation oncology, radiology, reconstructive surgery, and nursing as well as psychosocial and nutritional support. Being highly focused in breast cancer provides physicians and caregivers the ability to tackle complex cases and optimize the outcome for every patient.
Hackensack University Medical Center has the largest breast oncology program in NJ with over 200 dedicated professionals.
Committed to a standard of unmatched excellence
At Hackensack Meridian Health, we recognize that every cancer diagnosis is unique. Our team will develop your treatment plan using evidence-based medicine, as well as meaningful conversation with you about your preferences and treatment options as their guide.
We offer a range of procedures for the treatment of malignant and non-malignant conditions, all of which are performed in a caring, comforting setting that respects the unique needs and concerns of every patient.
Treatment options for breast cancer may include any combination of the following:
Hormone Therapy is an oral medication that is often used in both early stage and metastatic breast cancer. It works by blocking the hormones which are allowing your tumor type to grow. In order to receive this type of therapy you must have a tumor that is ER/ PR positive.
Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapies
Chemotherapy and targeted therapies are used to stop the growth of cancer by killing the cells that have spread to other parts of the body. It can be given after surgery (adjuvant) or before surgery (neoadjuvant) in order to reduce the risk of recurrence. Your physicians will choose the right combination of medications based on your type and the stage of breast cancer as well as your age.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or particles that destroy cancer cells.It can be given before or after surgery to shrink tumors. Radiation is often recommended as additional local therapy after surgery to help lower the chance of recurrence.
External beam radiation is treatment that is given 5 days a week and may last 5-6 weeks. Contura radiation is brachytherapy HDR (high dose rate) given twice a day 6 hours apart for 5 days. A small subset of patients can qualify for this type of radiation and your physician will discuss whether this type of radiation therapy is right for you.
Axillary Lymph Node Dissection
An axillary lymph node dissection is an operation to remove a grouping of lymph nodes from the underarm (axilla) on the same side where breast cancer was diagnosed. Usually 10 – 20 lymph nodes are removed, but the actual number can vary. If cancer has been identified in one or more lymph nodes under the arm someone already diagnosed with breast cancer, removal of a larger grouping of lymph nodes is often needed to be certain that all of the cancerous lymph nodes are taken out. An axillary lymph node dissection may be performed as part of the initial operative procedure for breast cancer, or it may be needed after completing chemotherapy.
Contura Balloon Procedure
The Contura Balloon procedure is an innovative type of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI), that helps destroy cancerous cells left behind after a lumpectomy, while sparing the surrounding healthy breast tissue. During this in-office procedure, the surgeon will use a small balloon-like catheter directly to the area where a breast tumor has been surgically removed, which is where tumors are most likely to recur. The catheter is guided into the space left where the tumor was removed (lumpectomy cavity), and the balloon is inflated until it conforms to the shape of the cavity.
This procedure allows for the radiation oncologist to deliver a precise dose of radiation treatment to the exact area. It also cuts down the normal amount of time for radiation treatment and women can get back to the life they love more quickly.
Mastectomy is surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent breast cancer. Most patients are in the hospital for only 1-2 days and are back to their normal activities within a few weeks.
A nipple-sparing mastectomy is a mastectomy, or removal of all of the breast tissue, without removal of the nipple or the darker skin around it called the areola. A skin sparing mastectomy is a removal of all breast tissue including the nipple. Here, the surgeon saves the outer skin to help with breast reconstruction. The results of this procedure have little affect on the look or aesthetics of the breast. However, the benefits of this procedure are not only cosmetic. Women who have this procedure often have improved self-esteem and body image in comparison to those who have a full mastectomy.
Oncoplastic Breast Lumpectomy
The goal of oncoplastic surgery is two-fold: to remove all of the cancer, and to achieve the most pleasing cosmetic result. It focuses on the woman’s self image as a next step in the breast cancer journey. In many cases, a conventional lumpectomy– or the removal of the tumor with a margin of healthy tissue–may result in a deformed breast. This happens when the surgeon needs to remove a large portion of the breast. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove more tissue than in a traditional lumpectomy but in a way that the tissue is refigured in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical in shape.
Surgery to restore shape to your breast — called breast reconstruction — may be done at the same time as your lumpectomy or during a second operation at a later date. This is up to your physicians to decide based on your condition and overall wellness.
Sentinel Node Dissection
In this procedure, a surgeon may only have to remove one or a small cluster of lymph nodes to know whether or not breast cancer has spread to the underarm lymph nodes. This procedure leaves the other non-involved, functional lymph nodes intact. The procedure allows for the surgeon to better understand the cancer with the least amount of incisions.