Our Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, and was the first National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Northeast to hold this designation. Women with a diagnosis of breast cancer are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of physician specialists, including radiologists, breast surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and plastic surgeons.
From the tranquility of the building and the range of services offered by complementary therapy and the boutique, to the most sophisticated personalized therapies and equipment offered in every discipline, Yale offers the perfect blend of art and science to help you through your journey. We are committed to tailoring treatment to you. At different points in time, you may need different resources – at Smilow, we are pleased to provide you with coordinated appointments with all of the appropriate specialties at the right time, accommodating your personal values and schedule.
The breast imaging center performs well over 20,000 breast examinations each year. These consist of screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, digital tomosynthesis, and MRI examinations. The newest technology, digital tomosynthesis, creates a three-dimensional picture using breast x-rays for review. This allows our radiologists to look very closely at the breast tissue, often minimizing the need for repeat mammograms. In addition, we offer radiologist-performed ultrasound, and 3-Tesla breast MRI. The radiologists at Smilow Cancer Hospital are recognized as leaders in their field and are involved in teaching, both on a local and a national level.
At our breast imaging center, a screening mammogram is done on a woman who has no breast problems or symptoms. A diagnostic mammogram is used when there is a breast complaint or symptom, or when an abnormality has been discovered on a routine screening mammogram. Approximately 20,000 breast screening and diagnostic mammograms are performed at our breast imaging center.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. In the United States alone, an estimated 246,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, and 61,000 people will be diagnosed with the earliest form of breast cancer (ACS, 2016). In Connecticut, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women was breast cancer, accounting for more than three out of every ten cancers diagnosed during the period 2006-2010 (CT, 2014). At SCH, the number of breast cancers diagnosed and or treated has increased in the last years. In part, this is attributed to the expansion of cancer care across the region of Connecticut throughout the Smilow Cancer Centers. In 2015, a total of 1,210 breast cancer cases were newly diagnosed and/or received all or part of the first course treatment at SCH (analytic cases), and 146 cases received their initial cancer treatment at another facility.
One of the most important elements of modern breast cancer treatment is the pathologic evaluation of tumors, and increasingly, the ability to profile tumors allows patients access to novel treatments that may be most effective for treating their particular tumor. Yale is fortunate to have one of the finest pathology departments in the country, complete with a high-level tumor profiling service. And, because it operates “behind the scenes,” patients are frequently not aware of its importance. Today, breast cancer is divided into an increasingly complex number of categories based on a whole host of sophisticated molecular markers that were not identified a few years ago. Pathologists therefore play a crucial role in our Tumor Board conferences. They carefully review the characteristics of each patient’s tumor, and help the clinical team to define optimal treatment strategies best suited to the individual patient.
At Smilow Cancer Hospital, approximately two thirds (64%) of patients with breast cancer are diagnosed with early stage 0 or I, the tumor is located in the breast and has not spread to lymph nodes. Stage II breast cancer disease accounts for 25% of the cases (e.g. tumor size <2 cm and/or spread to lymph nodes). Breast cancer diagnosed in advance Stage III or Stage IV comprised of 7% and 4% respectively.