One of the greatest health risks a woman faces is breast cancer. The good news in this fearful fact is that early detection can often save your life. Monthly breast self-exams and regular exams from your physician are important steps to finding breast cancer early. However, mammograms have also proven to be powerful and effective tools in the early detection of breast cancer.
The Breast Center at Glendale Adventist Medical Center has created a technologically advanced medical facility in a private, warm environment where women can feel comfortable and cared for. We provide technology and services to meet all your medical and surgical needs, including:
Following the guidelines of the American Cancer Society, we recommend that you have your first (also known as baseline) mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40. After age 40, you should have a mammogram each year.
The Breast Center at GAMC recently acquired two new digital mammography units. Digital mammography provides superior imaging capabilities, faster scans and elminates the possibility of films being lost or damaged. Additionally, it allowed GAMC's Breast Center to be named a Pink Ribbon Facility by Hologic, which means that GAMC uses only digital technology in screening for breast cancer.
If you have risk factors for breast cancer, it's important that you talk with your personal physician about having a mammogram, no matter what age you are. Click here to read more about the risk factors for breast cancer.
Having a mammogram in our state-of-the-art Breast Center is convenient, quick and discreet. To schedule your mammogram, just call us at (818) 409-8192.
When a mammogram reveals an area of concern, physicians may turn to the stereotactic table to retrieve tissue samples in a less invasive manner than with traditional surgical biopsy. The machine can even be used in some cases to remove an entire section of diseased tissue, thus eliminating the need for a separate surgery.
Stereotactic biopsy patients can remain awake during the entire procedure, which is conducted in the comfort and convenience of the hospital's Breast Center. Overall, this advanced procedure results in a more comfortable experience and a typically smaller to non-existent scar, compared with traditional biopsy.
New Technologies Provide Imaging Options
To help them distinguish between dangerous and harmless breast lumps, physicians turn to other imaging tools, especially ultrasound. While mammography uses x-rays to peer into breast tissue, ultrasound uses sound waves which provides a somewhat different view. Ultrasound helps physicians determine whether a mass is cystic, filled with liquid, or solid. In general, cystic lumps are rarely cancerous, but solid tissues may be either cancer or benign, such as fibroadenoma. A tissue biopsy clears up questions about the nature of a solid lump.
Along with mammogram and ultrasound, MRI is sometimes used to assist with breast cancer. Although MRI is nearly 100 percent accurate in finding abnormalities in breast tissue, including cancer, it is unable to distinguish between harmless and harmful lumps. As a result, further tests with mammogram or ultrasound normally have to be done. You and your physician will discuss all the options available to you and select the best course of action for your care.
Detection Starts at Home
In addition to their yearly mammogram, it is important for women to perform monthly breast self-exams and have yearly breast exams performed by their primary care physician.
While mammogram and ultrasound detect about 90 percent of breast cancers, 10 percent cannot be seen on a mammogram or on an ultrasound. These are best detected by physical examination. When performing a breast self-exam, women should check for the presence of new lumps under the skin. It is not unusual for the breast to have some lumps and bumps, so it is new lumps that should be of concern. If a woman discovers a new lump, she should make an appointment immediately to see her primary care physician.
State-of-the-Art Breast Reconstruction
Women considering modified radical mastectomy face a double psychological challenge: Not only do they confront the threat to their life posed by breast cancer, but in the years following successful treatment, they must continue to deal with the disfigurement and the resulting effects of the surgery on their self-image.
In a conventional breast reconstruction, a majority of patients still have mastectomies in which valuable breast skin is sacrificed needlessly. Reconstruction offered to these patients is in the form of breast implants.
Although a breast can be reconstructed by plastic surgery following mastectomy, conventional reconstruction techniques usually leave large, visible scars and the reconstructed breast has an unnatural shape and feel.
Glendale Adventist Medical Center offers a new approach to mastectomy and reconstruction that results in a more natural-looking breast than with many conventional procedures. The approach combines two state-of-the-art procedures: skin-sparing mastectomy, which leaves most of the breast skin intact, and microvascular surgery, a plastic surgical technique that uses tissue harvested from the woman's abdomen to be used to replace breast tissue removed during mastectomy.
Preserving the breast skin in this way helps retain the natural pyramidal shape of the breast during reconstruction. The result is an aesthetically superior reconstruction.
Preserving Breast Skin
During a skin-sparing mastectomy procedure, the general surgeon removes the nipple and areola, leaving a circular opening through which the breast gland is removed. A separate incision in the axillary region is made to remove axillary lymph nodes.
Long-term studies show that outcomes for women having skin-sparing mastectomy are comparable to those for women undergoing modified radical mastectomy.
Microvascular Surgery Is the Key
The key to successful reconstruction of the breast following skin-sparing mastectomy is restoration of the breast mound. This is accomplished by microvascular surgery, a procedure in which vessels of tissue transplanted from a donor site elsewhere in the patient's body are joined under a surgical microscope to vessels at the site being reconstructed.
When used in conjunction with skin-sparing mastectomy, the most commonly used donor site is the lower abdomen. Skin, fat, and a small portion of muscle are removed by the plastic surgeon at the same time that skin-sparing mastectomy is being performed in a procedure that is also known as a tummy tuck.
To re-create the breast mound, tissue from the abdomen is transplanted through the nipple opening into the "shell" of breast skin left by the skin-sparing mastectomy. Under an operating microscope, an artery and vein in the transplanted abdominal tissue are reattached to existing breast tissue.
The Benefits of "One-Stop" Surgery
The two procedures---skin-sparing mastectomy and microsurgical reconstruction---are undertaken during the same operation, and the presence of both a general surgeon and plastic surgeon are required.
Because the procedures are performed together, the overall time required for the operation is only slightly longer than either procedure performed alone. In the long run, performing skin-sparing mastectomy and microsurgical reconstruction in the same operation is less time consuming than undergoing conventional breast reconstruction following modified radical mastectomy. Microsurgical reconstructions are the most complex reconstruction techniques and are usually available only at major university hospitals.
To schedule a mammogram, call us at (818) 409-8192. For more information on Glendale Adventist's comprehensive cancer program, call (818) 409-8100.
Click here to download one of our Health Connections borchures:
"Understanding Breast Biopsy"
"Understanding A Good Diagnosis"
"Understanding Stereoctactic Breast Biopsy"
"Understanding Your Mammogram Report"