The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital provides coordinated, state-of-the-art care for patients with benign and malignant diseases of the breast. For patients diagnosed with breast cancer, we offer dedicated care, innovative treatment options, and cutting-edge research. A great deal of progress in the detection and treatment of breast cancer has been made in recent years, and our physicians are on the leading edge of finding even better solutions.
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, to our complementary therapy services, to the most sophisticated personalized therapies and equipment available, Yale is committed to tailoring treatment to our patients to ensure they have the best experiences possible during their time in our care.
The Breast Imaging Center performs more than 50,000 breast examinations each year, consisting of screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, digital tomosynthesis, and MRI examinations. The newest technology, digital tomosynthesis, uses breast x-rays to create a clear three-dimensional picture, often minimizing the need for repeat mammograms.
Genetic Counseling and Testing
Genetic counseling and testing are important tools in guiding management and surveillance for patients with breast cancer, as well as their families. Breast cancer patients with early-onset (<50 years) cancer, a triple-negative breast cancer before age 60 years, or who are of Jewish ancestry are candidates for genetic counseling and testing, as are all patients with a family history of a genetic mutation, or of breast, male breast, ovarian, gastric, or pancreatic cancer. Our experience team of genetic counselors are here to navigate insurance pre-authorization, pre- and post-test counseling, and to ensure that the correct test is ordered and interpreted accurately.
One of the most important elements of modern breast cancer treatment is the pathologic evaluation of tumor tissue. The growing ability of pathologists to profile tumors has led to new treatments, and a new, nuanced understanding of the many types of breast cancer. Our pathologists play a crucial role on our team, working to identify optimal, individual treatment strategies.
Patient Support Services
The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital places great emphasis on nurturing the medical and emotional needs of our patients to ensure they have the most tranquil treatment experience possible. Intake specialists make sure patients are prepared for their first visits, and our clinical secretaries and schedulers will coordinate appointments that best fit our patients’ schedules. Our physicians work closely with our patient care associates, nurses, advanced practice providers, and nurse coordinators to ensure that our patients feel well-informed and supported every step of the way.
Our team extends to a network of essential services, including social work, pastoral support, dietary and nutritional aid, physical therapy, integrative medicine, pain management, and psychosocial support. Smilow also hosts a state-of-the-art Survivorship Clinic that employs a multidisciplinary team designed to address patients’ needs after treatment ends.
Many patients with breast cancer also need medical therapy, such as chemotherapy and/or endocrine therapy. Our team of experts utilizes both standard chemotherapies and novel targeted therapies to attack the cancer precisely while minimizing harm to normal tissues.
Radiation therapy is a highly effective and integral part of treatment for many breast cancer patients. Smilow has the most advanced technology in the region, conveniently located throughout Connecticut in New Haven, Hamden, Guilford, Waterford, Trumbull, and Greenwich. The equipment at each site is state-of-the-art, and each offers the same consistent, high level of care.
Although many general surgeons perform breast surgery, dedicated breast surgeons have the experience and knowledge to understand and treat even the most complex cases. Historically, Yale surgeons were among the first to perform lumpectomies instead of mastectomies, and were instrumental in the development of non-invasive procedures like sentinel lymph node biopsy, intraoperative guidance by ultrasound, and advanced oncoplastic procedures. Our surgeons are experienced in cutting-edge modern techniques, such as skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy, and often work hand-in-hand with our plastic surgeons to offer women a variety of options for breast reconstruction.
Reconstructions vary from placement of a simple implant to complex reconstructions using natural tissue from the abdomen, thigh, or back. Careful attention is given to achieve the best possible cosmetic result and quality of life, without compromising the chance of cure. In each case, the approach is customized to best fit each patient’s needs and goals.
Yale Cancer Center and our partner, Smilow Cancer Hospital, acknowledge the seven American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) evidence-based quality guidelines for breast and colorectal cancers.