Tests and Procedures

Here at Mount Sinai Chelsea, we perform a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose the presence of cancer so that we can give you the treatment that is just right for you. In our comfortable and welcoming environment, we can confirm a diagnosis and proceed quickly to treat breast cancer and gynecological cancers (cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, and vaginal).

If we do find cancer, we use a variety of approaches to treat it, based on the treatment plan we design just for you after discussing your goals and lifestyle needs with you. These approaches may include:

When you are looking for compassionate and expert doctors, come here for the tests and procedures you need. We will take the best possible care of you.

Diagnostic Tests

If breast imaging or screening or a gynecological exam, along with your symptoms, indicate the possible presence of cancer, we perform tests to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

Image-guided biopsies enable us to determine whether a suspicious breast or gynecological mass is malignant and develop the most appropriate course of treatment. A biopsy involves removing cells or a small piece of tissue that we believe may be cancerous and examining it under a microscope.

To test for breast cancer, we may use one of the following procedures:

  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) involves inserting a very small needle to extract a small amount of fluid or a few cells for testing. This test is a quick way to distinguish between a liquid-filled cyst and a solid tumor. We typically perform an FNA in the office where we see you. The discomfort lasts only a few minutes.
  • Core needle biopsies are similar to FNAs, but use a larger, hollow needle to remove several tissue samples, each about the size of a grain of rice. We do a core biopsy when we are assessing a lump that we can see on a mammogram, MRI, or ultrasound. This is a relatively safe and quick procedure and requires use of a local anesthetic.
  • Stereotactic biopsies use two sets of low-dose X-rays for guidance. With this procedure, our radiologist makes a small incision to remove several tissue samples. Less invasive than a surgical (excisional) biopsy, this procedure takes place in a specially equipped room, but not in an operating room.
  • Excisional (or surgical) biopsy is an outpatient procedure that takes place in an operating room and requires light sedation. We can remove either the entire mass of suspicious tissue or a large sample. We test the margins, or edges, of the sample to see whether we removed the entire tumor. If we determine that you do have cancer, we may also test the tissue to help us determine the best course of treatment.

To confirm the presence of gynecological cancer—cancer of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, or vagina—we may use one of the following types of diagnostic tests:

  • CA 125 assay is a blood test that measures the level of the protein CA 125, which may be a sign of cancer or another condition.
  • Barium enema is a series of X-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract, also known as a lower GI series.
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a series of X-rays using a contrast dye to determine if the kidneys or bladder have been affected by cancer.
  • Biopsy is removal of cells or tissues to check for signs of cancer.
  • Cone biopsy (conization) involves a pathologist viewing the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells in the uterus.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) examines the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and bladder to identify tumors by looking at the sonogram.
  • Endometrial sampling is removing tissue for viewing under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

Treatment Procedures

We perform several outpatient treatment procedures right here in our comfortable Chelsea setting. If we determine that you need a hospital stay, we will refer you to one of the hospitals within the Mount Sinai Health System for treatment by our highly trained and experienced breast or gynecological surgeons.

For breast cancer, our surgeons may be able to treat you by performing an outpatient treatment procedure right at Mount Sinai Chelsea, such as:

  • Lumpectomy is a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in the breast. During this procedure, we may also perform tissue transfer to correct any un-evenness between your breasts that might otherwise result from removing tissue from only one breast.
  • Seed implantation provides radiation therapy internally. We take a radiation source contained in a small holder (called an implant, seed, or rod) and place it inside your body close to the tumor. Having the radiation inside you enables us to administer a higher dose of radiation in a much smaller area than we can do with traditional external radiation. We can insert and remove the radiation implants in our Mount Sinai Chelsea surgical suite.
  • Sentinel node biopsies happen after a diagnosis of cancer. This procedure allows us to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. We make a small incision to remove the sentinel node for pathology testing. If we do find cancer, we may also remove additional lymph nodes, either during this procedure or during a follow-up.

For gynecological cancer, our surgeons can treat you in most cases by performing one of the outpatient treatment procedures we specialize in, such as:

  • Laparoscopic treatment is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that we may use to remove ovarian cysts, and to treat early and certain advanced or recurrent ovarian cancers.
  • Laser surgery is a surgical procedure that uses a laser beam (a narrow beam of intense light) as a knife to make bloodless cuts in tissue or to remove a surface lesion such as a tumor.
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses electrical current passed through a thin wire loop as a knife to remove abnormal cervical tissue or cancer.
  • Total laparoscopic hysterectomy removes the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen.

Following the tests and procedures we perform to diagnose and treat you, we continue to monitor your condition and take care of you at Mount Sinai Chelsea.