Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program
Like many people, you may be concerned about your breast health, and how your wellness affects your family, loved ones and friends. We share your concern. Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program (HRBCP) combines a comfortable, supportive environment with first-rate, comprehensive diagnostic and treatment resources… all conveniently close to home.
The HRBCP is accredited by the American College of Radiology as a nationally approved Mammography and Ultrasound Center. We are a member of the National Consortium of Breast Centers. Most recently The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the only national accreditation program specifically for breast disease, awarded Hunterdon Medical Center’s Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program Three-Year Full Accreditation. The NAPBC is a consortium of national and professional organizations dedicated to quality of care and the improvement of outcomes for patients with diseases of the breast.
At HRBCP, we take a coordinated approach to breast care, for both well care and cancer care. A highly skilled team of breast specialists from different medical disciplines provides diagnostic testing, treatment, surgery, psychosocial support, education and rehabilitation. This team also collaborates with family practice physicians, gynecologists, radiologists, oncology specialists, plastic surgeons, pathologists and counselors to ensure that the care you receive is the most comprehensive it can be.
Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center is a full-time care partner, providing surgery, reconstruction alternatives, radiation and chemotherapy, support and counseling every step of the way.
The moment you enter the HRBCP – whether for education, screenings, diagnosis or treatment – you are under the care of experienced and qualified breast health professionals. What sets us apart? We combine this level of professional excellence with a true compassion for the patients we serve. HRBCP cares for all of you! A dedicated nurse coordinator experienced in breast health is your direct connection to the many services you may use; she will coordinate your appointments and keep you apprised of your progress.
- Dedicated Nurse Coordinator
- Digital Mammography Services
- Stereotactic Biopsy
- Sentinel Node Biopsy
- Prone Breast Irradiation
- Breast Surgery and Reconstruction
- Prevention research
- The Family Risk Assessment Program
A full-time, dedicated Nurse Coordinator experienced in breast health issues remains in contact with you, keeping you informed about test results. She serves as liaison if further treatment and evaluation are necessary coordinating appointments in an expeditious manner. She is there to hold your hand every step of the way.
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast. It can detect a breast lump nearly two years before it can be felt. Digital mammography is the most advanced technology to date for detecting breast cancer. The digital mammography procedure is essentially the same as standard film mammography, but uses a computer and digital image instead of film. Digital mammograms allow the image to be acquired and displayed immediately, reducing the time that the patient must remain still. This expedited process provides the patient with a more convenient and comfortable mammogram. In addition, a digital image can be enhanced and altered to be seen more clearly and to make a more accurate diagnosis. This image manipulation eliminates the need for a woman to repeat her mammogram if the first image is deemed unusable.
A routine mammogram is the main reason most women visit the Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program. Screening mammograms evaluate breast health in women with no symptoms, and are used for those who seek routine breast evaluation. Diagnostic mammograms are used to diagnose breast disease in women with symptoms of a breast problem: dimpling, or a change in texture of the skin of the breast, a lump, or discharge from the nipple.
Digital mammograms are done at the Hunterdon Women's Imaging Center located at the address below:
Hunterdon Women’s Imaging Center
121 Rte. 31
Flemington, NJ 08822
The majority of lumps and abnormalities turn out to be benign, not cancerous. A way to determine if a lump is a benign cyst is to perform another imaging procedure called an ultrasound. Ultrasound works by sending high frequency sound waves into the breast. These sound waves produce a pattern of echoes that are changed into an image of the inside of the breast. Ultrasound is painless and can distinguish between tumors that are solid and those that are filled with fluid (cysts). It can also help radiologists evaluate lumps that can be felt but cannot be easily seen on a mammogram.
In this procedure, a computer-guided needle pinpoints a lump precisely, allowing removal of only the tissue needed for examination. A stereotactic biopsy is performed under local anesthesia, and usually takes between 30 minutes and one hour. Results of the relatively simple outpatient procedure are generally available within one working day.
A procedure performed at the Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program that determines whether any cancer cells are present in axillary (underarm area) lymph nodes is the sentinel node biopsy. The aim of the sentinel node biopsy is to identify the node that receives lymph drainage directly from the cancer area in the breast. This "node on watch" is identified when a tracer substance is injected into the area around the breast cancer, and the lymph flow carries it to the sentinel node. A small biopsy is then done on that node using local anesthesia. Only if the sentinel node is positive is more surgery required to remove that node and other lymph nodes tested.
Services specifically designed for women diagnosed with breast cancer include:
- Surgery including sentinel lymph node dissection
- Reconstructive surgery
- Outpatient chemotherapy suite
- Outpatient radiation treatment services
- Psychosocial counseling and rehabilitative services
- Clinical research
- Breast cancer support groups
- Lymphedema program
- Dietary consultation
Care is coordinated with one of the board-certified surgical specialists at the Medical Center. With early detection, most women are candidates for a lumpectomy, where the surgeon removes only the lump and a margin of tissue around it, sparing the breast.
Catherine Gleason, M.D.
Catherine Gleason, M.D., is a board certified surgeon specializing in breast surgery. Dr. Gleason received her medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson, Mississippi. She completed her residency at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Gleason is the Medical Director for the Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program at Hunterdon Medical Center. She works closely with the Hunterdon Women’s Imaging Center to support their patient needs.
For patients who need surgery to treat their breast cancer, there are a variety of options to best meet their physical and emotional needs. Breast conserving surgery, or lumpectomy, removes the cancer in the breast but preserves the healthy breast tissue. Patients who are not a candidate for, or chose not to have lumpectomy, may have a mastectomy, which is removal of the entire breast. For these patients, breast reconstruction is an option.
Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program has an integrated breast reconstruction program for patients who are candidates for reconstructive surgery. Breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as mastectomy (immediate) or at a later time (delayed). Breast reconstruction helps to restore the natural appearance and feel of a breast after mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be done using an implant, a patients own tissue or a combination of these methods. Not all patients are candidates for each method; this is something the patient and plastic surgeon will decide together. All types of reconstruction methods are available at Hunterdon Healthcare and are performed by board certified plastic surgeons.
Become familiar with your breasts by routinely checking them for signs and symptoms of disease. The Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program follows these guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society:
Monthly breast self-exams: All women should perform monthly breast self-exams starting at age 20. It should be done a few days after the last day of your period. If you don't have periods any more, do your exam on the same day each month. Look for lumps, thickenings, nipple discharges, skin changes or any other signs of change.
Clinical breast exams: You should have a physician examine your breasts every three years if you are between the ages of 20 and 40, and every year after you are 40.
Mammograms: All women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year for the rest of their life. If there is a history of breast cancer in your immediate family (such as a mother, aunt, or sister), you may begin having mammograms as early as 35. If you feel you are at increased risk for breast cancer, talk to your physician about when you should begin having mammograms.
For questions concerning the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast disease - or to schedule an appointment - call Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program at 908-237-2362.