Breast Cancer Treatments
The Mount Sinai Health System offers you a comprehensive range of the most advanced breast cancer treatments to support your breast health and overall wellbeing. Your medical team will recommend one type of treatment or a combination of treatments including surgical, medical (including chemotherapy), and radiation oncology.
Our extraordinary and compassionate cancer treatment team will inform you about your treatment options, and about the available integrated services ranging from reconstruction surgery and nutritional consulting to yoga and massage therapy. When appropriate, they will tell you about emerging therapies via clinical trial opportunities and breast cancer research that you may find helpful and interesting.
Our specialists across Mount Sinai Health System’s New York City locations are skilled in providing the newest and most promising therapies, including the following.
When surgery is part of your treatment plan, the first step may involve one of two breast localization methods to pinpoint precisely the cancerous breast tissue, so your surgeon can focus on removing just the affected tissue.
The first method of locating the cancerous breast tissue requires using a fine needle to insert either a thin wire into the breast. The process requires an experienced radiologist who guides the needle with the help of a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI imaging. Wire insertion takes place on the same day of your surgery; the surgeon removes the thin wire as part of the surgical procedure. Following a wire procedure, you will be taken to the operating room.
The second method is using a fine needle to insert a tiny radioactive particle or seed into the breast. Seed insertion can take place one to five days before your surgery. Following a seed procedure, you will be able to go home with no activity restrictions and your schedule will be scheduled for within five days. At the time of your surgery, the surgeon removes the minimally radioactive seed.
Breast localization involves these steps:
- Taking images to determine the best angle at which to introduce the needle or seed
- Cleaning the skin and numbing the breast
- Injecting the thin wire or tiny seed into the breast with a fine needle
- Removing the needle once the seed or wire is in place
- Taking additional images to confirm correct placement
If you are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, based on information from your medical team and your preference, you may choose which type of breast surgery to have for the best results: breast conserving surgery (surgery that takes out the cancer leaving most of the breast) or a mastectomy (surgery that removes the whole breast). Research shows that women with early-stage breast cancer who have breast conserving surgery along with radiation therapy live as long as those who have a mastectomy. A form of mastectomy, skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction may be available for women whose only option or personal choice is a mastectomy.
The goal for your treatment is to give you the opportunity to lead a long, healthy life, like most women with breast cancer who choose to have surgery. Treatment for breast cancer usually begins a few weeks after diagnosis. In these weeks, you should meet with a surgeon, learn the facts about your surgery choices, and think about what is important to you.
Our breast reconstruction services The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Beth Israel provide patients with the utmost care. Plastic surgeons work closely with breast surgeons and oncologists at Mount Sinai to offer you the finest team approach to your breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction is a staged process; complete reconstruction may take up to one year. In general, breast reconstruction is performed simultaneously with mastectomy, and is often performed as a separate procedure. Reconstruction can generally be categorized into two types: implant reconstruction, which uses silicone or saline implants, and autologous reconstruction, which uses your own tissue as described below.
- Implant Reconstruction: The implant reconstruction process starts when a tissue expander is placed at time of your mastectomy. The following steps take place over time:
- The tissue expander is a temporary inflatable implant and is inflated soon after surgery
- Hospital stay is typically 1-2 days
- You may be able to return to work in 2-3 weeks
- At a second ambulatory surgery about three months after your initial surgery, the tissue expander is removed and a permanent implant is put in place
- Your permanent implants can be silicone or saline
- You may also choose nipple reconstruction that is performed after placement of the permanent implant
- Autologous Reconstruction (Your Own Tissue): Autologous reconstruction uses your own tissue for skin replacement and breast contour to make a natural, long-lasting reconstruction. Each procedure has a slightly different name depending on where on your body the flap of reconstruction tissue comes from:
- Reconstruction with Perforator Flap: During this procedure, the skin and soft tissue that was removed at mastectomy is replaced with a combination of muscle, fat, and skin taken from your abdomen, back, or other parts of the body.
- Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap (DIEP Flap): This is the most common type of perforator flap for breast reconstruction. For this procedure, the skin and soft tissue that was removed at mastectomy is replaced with living tissue from the skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen.
- Superior and Inferior Gluteal Artery Perforator Flap (SGAP and IGAP): The living tissue of your upper buttock is used for this procedure.
- Inner Thigh or Transverse Upper Gracillis (TUG) Flap: The living tissue of your excess inner thigh is used for this procedure.
- Profunda Artery Perforator Flap (PAP): The extra tissue taken from the back of the upper thigh is used for this procedure.
Our medical oncologists, specializing in treating breast cancer, represent a group of highly dedicated and trained physicians devoted to the care and treatment of breast cancer. From your initial diagnosis to your post-treatment care, our medical oncologists at the Mount Sinai Health System oversee your breast cancer at all stages of the disease, offering you consultations, second opinions, treatment, and follow-up care.
Medical oncology may involve your receiving a combination of medical treatments for your breast cancer in the form of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and biotherapy in our state-of-the-art infusion suites.
The radiation oncologists at Mount Sinai Health System delivers high-quality care to cancer patients and performs innovative research to improve cancer therapy. Our physicians, nurses, physicists, radiation therapists, and support staff are united in their efforts to provide the most compassionate and advanced cancer care available to every patient. During treatment, we strive to make our patients as physically and emotionally comfortable as possible. We offer some of the latest techniques in radiation therapy that allows us to pinpoint cancers while minimizing the radiation dose to normal organs. Our physicians work side-by-side with your breast cancer specialists and medical oncologists, to give you the best possible care.
We believe in the importance of ensuring that all patients’ needs are addressed—body, mind, and spirit—and we therefore strive to give patients the care, support, and tools they need to live a healthier, calmer, and happier life.
On our Supportive Services section, we offer a wide range of symptom management and wellness programs to help you to enrich your quality of life, enhance your ability to cope with stresses associated with diagnosis and treatment, ease any symptoms and side-effects you experience and enable you to meet your personal lifestyle goals.