- GW Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program
- Specialty Breast Cancer Care for Women
The Breast Cancer Program at the GW Cancer Center provides multi-disciplinary breast care services for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer using state-of-the-art technologies unavailable at any other breast center in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Staffed by nationally and internationally-renown physicians and surgeons who care only for breast, the Breast Cancer Program at the GW Cancer Center offers women quality medical care along with advanced imaging and diagnostic technology.
Imaging Services at the GW Comprehensive Breast Center
The center offers a number of imaging options to accommodate a woman's risk factors for breast cancer:
Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound is is a quick, painless and effective way to image dense breasts with no ionizing radiation. It helps to detect additional cancer in women where mammography alone may be insufficient due to their greater breast density.
- 2-D and 3-D Mammography is used for for women with an average risk for breast cancer.
- Molecular Breast Imaging (scintimammography) uses a radioactive tracer that is absorbed by any cancerous cells in the breast tissue or surrounding lymph nodes to detect abnormalities. The Dilon 6800 gamma camera helps doctors detect breast cancer at its earliest most treatable stages.
Advanced Surgical Options for Breast Cancer
Advanced surgical options are available at the GW Comprehensive Breast Center from surgeons who specialize in cutting-edge breast procedures. Those options range from breast conserving treatments such as a lumpectomy to simple and modified radical mastectomies.
Doctors at the center may use sentinel node mapping to first examine the lymph nodes most likely to be affected by breast cancer and avoid more extensive full lymph node dissection procedure.
If a mastectomy is necessary, patients are referred to plastic surgeons to discuss reconstruction options . The center was the first in the region to offer the seed localization procedure that uses tiny radioactive seeds to mark a tumor to allow more accurate surgery.
Along with surgery, doctors at the GW Comprehensive Breast Center may use therapies, such as radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy , to treat breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Education and Support
The GW Comprehensive Breast Center provides support and education programs for patients and their families, including individual psychotherapy, support groups, nutritional counseling and complimentary medicine. If you are diagnosed with cancer, the medical staff will develop an individualized plan of care that meets your specific needs and coordinates that plan through a designated patient navigator who will help guide you through the entire treatment and recovery process.
The Center works closely with GW partners to offer risk-based and community focused services, such as the GW Mammovan . This mobile screening unit, which is operated by Medical Faculty Associates, makes early detection of breast cancer readily available to women in the DC area. It has also partnered with GW Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine to offer physical therapy, massage therapy, Reiki treatments and post-op care for lymphedema.
As part of an academic medical center, the GW Comprehensive Breast Center is at the forefront of breast cancer research and prevention. Patients who are being treated at the center may voluntarily participate in clinical trials that are available through research grants from national funding sources to help increase knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Recommendations for Early Breast Cancer Detection
Doctors at the GW Comprehensive Breast Center recommend that women have annual mammograms beginning at age 40, regardless of family history, to optimize their chances for early detection when treatment can be most effective. Dr. Brem recommends that women follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for screening and early cancer detection.