After a woman learns she may have breast cancer, she must absorb the news, undergo more diagnostic evaluation and get a breast biopsy. If cancer is diagnosed, she will then meet the experts who will help her fight the disease, learn more about her condition, and make choices about treatment.
It can be overwhelming. The Beverly Hospital Breast Health Center can help guide a woman through this difficult time with both compassion and expertise.
Audrey Duva-Frissora, M.D., director of breast MRI for the Breast Health Center, speaks for the team when she says, “We know that when a woman finds out that she has an abnormal mammogram, it’s an emotional emergency. We fast-track getting her in for additional imaging-including mammography, breast ultrasound and MRI-to help establish a diagnosis. We are pleased to offer the Aurora Dedicated Breast MRI System, the North Shore’s only FDA-approved breast MRI that is specifically designed for breast imaging.”
If cancer is detected, a woman can rest assured that a highly accomplished and coordinated team will be at her side. The Breast Health Center offers a woman newly diagnosed with cancer the option of having her treatment plan created through a multidisciplinary conference. At the conference, cancer specialists from each discipline sit together to review and discuss each woman’s specific data. The result is a comprehensive, individualized plan.
Within the multidisciplinary approach, reconstructive plastic surgery can play an important role in planning and treatment. Fortunately, advances in early detection mean more cancer is being found and treated at an earlier stage, so the need for mastectomy is diminishing. When mastectomy is recommended, or when there are changes in the contours of a breast after lumpectomy, reconstructive surgeons can use innovative techniques to restore symmetry.
“Breast reconstruction after cancer can help women embrace their femininity and feel whole again,” says Jagruti Patel, M.D., chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals. “There are multiple options, and each can be tailored to the individual woman.” She adds, “Women should know that reconstructive procedures for patients with breast cancer are covered by health insurance, by federal mandate.”
A patient will receive guidance from her Breast Health team about the right point in her care to meet with one of the center’s reconstructive plastic surgeons. “We begin a dialogue and a relationship, and we coordinate with the rest of the treatment team throughout planning, treatment and follow-up,” says Patel.
“New breast reconstructive techniques are now available to augment or replace traditional approaches,” notes Beverly M. Shafer, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals. Patel and Shafer agree that advances include reconstructing the breast after skin sparing mastectomies, and the creation of much more natural-looking breasts using a new generation of silicone gel implants together with a “dermal matrix” for support.
Whatever the option selected, for women north of Boston who face breast cancer, Shafer says, “Finding out that breast reconstruction is offered, and that it’s a right, can be a silver lining in a dark cloud. Women learn that something can be done to help restore them to a complete state.”
To learn more about the Breast Health Center or reconstructive surgery, visit us online at beverlyhospital.org or call our HealthConnection at 888-253-0800.
85 Herrick Street, Beverly, MAÂ 01915