Diseases and Conditions
A Recognized Center of Excellence
Approximately 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States alone. At the Breast Cancer Program at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, we provide personalized care to patients from across the country, using the most advanced diagnostics, treatments and technologies for all types and stages of benign and malignant breast disease.
Our highly skilled experts work as a multidisciplinary team, so each patient benefits from convenient meetings with several members at one time as well as their collective expertise. Members of this specialized team include: medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, social workers, geneticists, pathologists, radiologists, patient navigators, psychologists and a specialist in lymphedema. Additionally, we offer exceptional education to patients so they are able to make the best treatment decisions with our guidance.
The ultimate goal for each patient is to devise a customized plan that considers both the optimal cancer care and the expectations and desires of each patient.
Advanced Breast Surgery
The surgeons at Montefiore offer a variety of surgical approaches to breast cancer patients. Factors that are considered important in planning surgical treatment include tumor size, location, breast size and patient preference. Based on these and other factors, patients will be offered one or more of the following options:
- Lumpectomy (breast-conserving surgery): Removing only the cancerous tissue with a surrounding rim of normal tissue. This operation requires post-operative radiation therapy.
- Mastectomy (skin-sparing, nipple-sparing and modified radical): The removal of all breast tissue.
- Intraoperative Radiation (IORT) is a single radiation treatment delivered in the OR during outpatient lumpectomy surgery. This treatment allows for higher effective doses of radiation therapy compared to traditional therapies. IORT minimizes the need for patients to come in for radiation therapy by completing all treatment in one day.
Underarm (Axillary) Lymph Nodes
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy: The mapping, removal and microscopic examination of the sentinel nodes, which are the first lymph nodes to receive cancer cells from breast tumors.
- Axillary lymph node dissection: The removal of the axillary lymph nodes when cancer has spread to those lymph nodes.
- Oncoplastic surgery: The objective of oncoplastic surgery is to combine complete tumor resection with optimal cosmetic outcome in the setting of breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy). Oncoplastic surgery is considered an integral part of "personalized surgery" and underscores the need to tailor surgery to each individual patient and breast cancer.
- Post-mastectomy breast reconstruction:
- Autologous tissue reconstruction: This technique uses muscle and fat derived from the patient's body (usually from the back or the stomach) to re-create the shape of the breast.
- Tissue expander and implant reconstruction: This technique uses tissue expanders followed by saline or silicone implants to re-create the shape of the breast.
The right systemic therapy for the right patient—at the right time. The Breast Cancer Program’s medical oncology team customizes therapies as unique as our patients. Our physicians include some of the country’s leading clinicians and researchers. Our clinical research program gives patients access to an average of 20-25 ongoing trials at any given time, which are often developed by our own faculty and sponsored by the NCI or the pharmaceutical industry.
Clinicians and scientists partner at the NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center to advance a wide range of multi-site investigations:
Molecular characterization of the tumor to individualize treatment
Testing of the newest and most innovative anticancer agents
Evaluation of strategies to reduce side effects
Breakthrough radiation oncology cuts the patient’s therapy time in half. Our specialists tailor treatments that offer superior therapeutic results—often in half the time. Many selected patients are able to complete radiotherapy in as little as five days.
Dedicated Breast Radiotherapy
Breast cancer treatment is complicated by the structure of the breast itself and breast tissue’s irregular shape and contours. That’s why our patients benefit from radiation oncologists dedicated to breast disease.
Our radiation oncology subspecialists provide:
- Clinical expertise
Among the most experienced radiation oncologists in the country, our specialists manage care for hundreds of women with complex breast disease.
- Full range of technological advances
On-site radiation suites are equipped with the most advanced radiotherapeutic technology in the world, handled by trained and experienced professionals.
- Unhurried consultations
Our physicians take the time to explain treatment options—and discuss potential advantages and disadvantages of these therapies in detail.
- Innovative tissue-sparing therapies
The radiation oncologists of the Breast Cancer Program offer a variety of breast radiation therapies, including:
- Prone-positioned CT planning that increases the precision of image guidance and spares exposure of healthy chest, heart and lung tissue
- Partial breast irradiation—using pinpointed external beam or brachytherapy radiation, which cuts treatment time in half
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), hypofractionated irradiation treatments and other radiotherapy advances
Breast Cancer Research and Support Services
The Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care initiates various research studies and participates in many of the national clinical trials currently in progress. Our oncologists discuss eligibility with each of our patients to optimize treatment. All of our research endeavors have the common goal of improving patients' quality of life and overall survivorship.
Prevention and Support Services such as yoga rehabilitation, stress management, nutritional guidance and genetic counseling also play a vital role in our patients' well-being. These programs are designed to help patients and their families cope with the psychological and emotional effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
We understand that a diagnosis of breast cancer is extremely stressful and challenging. Our team works diligently, not only as physicians and surgeons, but also as educators and investigative researchers to provide our patients with information, clinical trial opportunities and expert advice they need to make the best treatment decisions with the least disruption to their lives.