Breast Cancer




In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 178,480 women diagnosed with breast cancer, 62,030 cases of ductal carcenoma in sith (pre-invasive) and 2,030 men. But the good news is that almost all breast cancers can be treated successfully if detected early. In fact, the five-year survival rate for women with localized breast cancer is now 98 percent. When you combine all stages of breast cancer, the five-year survival rate is 88 percent and the 10-year survival rate is 80 percent. All of this means that if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, there is much to be hopeful about.




The Betty Torricelli Institute for Breast Care at Hackensack University Medical Center provides comprehensive diagnostic, screening, and educational services within the convenience of one soothing, comfortable environment. Here you can undergo a mammogram; have a biopsy, if needed; and meet with a breast surgeon if your results need interpretation. We are accredited by the American College of Radiology, and our mammography technologists are certified. Our tests include screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasound and MRI, cyst aspiration (fluid is removed), fine needle aspiration (cells are removed), and core biopsy (tissue is removed, sometimes under stereotactic guidance). CT scans and our advanced PET scanner are used in cases when the disease has spread beyond the breast. Our radiologists, surgeons, and pathologists work together to interpret and diagnose test results as quickly as possible.




There are many types of breast cancer, including adenocarcinoma (the most common), lobular (which accounts for 5 to 10 percent), medullary (which affects mostly younger women), and mucinous (which affects older women most).

Risk factors include:

  • early menstruation
  • late menopause
  • not having borne children
  • having had a first child after age 30
  • the use of oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement therapy
  • a close relative (mother, sister, or maternal/paternal grandmother) with breast cancer
  • inheritance of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  • a diet high in fat content
  • drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day
  • radiation exposure

Risk Profiling is performed on patients at the Surgical Breast Center.



The earliest sign of breast cancer is an abnormality that is discovered on a mammogram before it can be felt by a woman. When the tumor has grown, signs and symptoms may include a breast lump, thickening, swelling, distortion, tenderness, skin irritation or dimpling, or nipple pain or ulceration.




If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you can feel confident that every treatment method now practiced is available at The Cancer Center. Almost all cases of breast cancer are treated with a combination of methods: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and/or stem cell transplantation. Your physician will determine the best course of treatment based on the size and location of the tumor, whether it has spread and to where, and your age and overall health.


At The Cancer Center, we offer the latest advances in breast cancer surgery. These include:

  • breast conservation surgery (also known as a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy), during which the surgeon removes the tumor, some healthy surrounding tissue, and possibly some lymph nodes from under the arm
  • simple mastectomy, which includes removal of the entire breast but not the lymph nodes or any chest muscle
  • modified radical mastectomy, which includes removal of the entire breast and some of the lymph nodes but not any chest muscle
  • radical mastectomy, in which the whole affected breast is removed with much of the surrounding tissue and lymph glands
  • sentinel lymph node mapping, in which only a suspected node is removed and then tested to see if the cancer has spread
  • breast reconstruction surgery at the time of mastectomy or after recovery
  • accelerated partial breast irradiation (MammoSite), i.e., 5 days of targeted radiation treatment.


Chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells within the breast and any that have spread throughout the body. It is also used to help control symptoms and side effects of the cancer. Chemotherapy may also be given before surgery to help shrink the tumor and improve the outcome. Chemotherapy may be taken orally by pill or by injection into a vein or muscle. The majority of patients needing chemotherapy are treated at The Cancer Center's outpatient center, a state-of-the-art facility located in the Hackensack University Medical Plaza.

Hormonal Therapy

Hormonal therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. There are many newer hormonal therapies currently under investigation and available at The Cancer Center through clinical trials.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to shrink and/or destroy tumor cells and to control the symptoms and side effects of breast cancer. Radiation therapy may also be used before surgery as an adjuvant (additional) therapy to shrink the tumor and improve the outcome of surgery. The Cancer Center's Radiation Oncology Division utilizes today's most advanced modalities to treat breast cancer, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

The Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program

If you have a personal or family history of colorectal, ovarian, or endometrial cancer, you may be at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Our Hereditary Cancer risk Assessment Program offers genetic counseling and testing services to determine each patient's risk. A medical management plan is developed for each patient and may include various methods to reduce risk factors, including medication, prophylactic surgery, diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and other recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Various issues are discussed, such as privacy, insurance, psychosocial, and family issues. We keep up to date on patients through our high-risk registry. For more information or to make an appointment, call (201) 996-5264.