In 2016, nearly 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States. A breast cancer diagnosis is life changing and the amount of information regarding treatment options can be overwhelming. After a patient is diagnosed, it’s best that they take a moment to fully process the information that is given to them and seek a second opinion.
As a medical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer with Atlantic Medical Group, I encourage all patients to seek a second opinion at Atlantic Health System’s Breast Cancer Second Opinion Program at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J. The program aims to educate and provide newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, those faced with a recurrence or individuals entering another phase of treatment, with a new perspective regarding their treatment options. Patients are given the opportunity to connect with a team of breast cancer specialists to discuss their diagnosis, review test results, develop a personalized plan of care and address any questions or concerns. The Second Opinion Program also allows doctors to collaborate and share treatment methods and clinical trials that may benefit the patient.
It is recommended that women begin getting their annual mammograms at the age of 40, as early detection reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by 30 percent. This October and beyond, Atlantic Health System encourages family and friends to share the responsibility in helping the women in their lives to make their health a priority by scheduling their annual mammogram.
In an effort to promote regular breast exams, Atlantic Health System has launched the #AskHer campaign. We have opened 1,200 new appointments for breast cancer screenings through Tuesday, November 15. Appointments are available at all 10 of our screening centers across Northern and Central New Jersey to ensure mammograms are accessible to all women in the communities we serve.
Atlantic Health System offers patients 3D mammography, which is 41 percent more effective in detecting invasive breast cancers. The device is also able to detect smaller tumors that would otherwise have been difficult to assess and identify in earlier stages, improving survival rates. 3D mammography also decreases false positives and the need for repeat mammograms.
I encourage you to speak with the women in your lives and #AskHer about breast health. We hope you share the moment you “pop the question” and #AskHer to schedule her annual mammogram. When she says yes, post a photo or video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #AskHer and tag @AtlanticHealth in the post. Together, let’s build momentum to get more women screened this season. To learn more about the "Ask Her" campaign or schedule an appointment, visit atlantichealth.org/askher.
Dr. Bonni Guerin is the Director of Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment at Overlook Medical Center