Breast Health

The Hospital of Central Connecticut is dedicated to providing women in the community both physical and emotional support when it comes to dealing with breast health issues.

Mammography    Breast Testing    Breast Cancer    Our Team    Nurse Navigator    Genetic Counseling & Testing


Mammography

The Hospital of Central Connecticut offers digital screening and diagnostic mammograms.

Screening Mammogram

Screening mammograms can detect breast changes in women with no breast cancer signs or symptoms, including tumors that can't be felt and other breast tissue changes. Computer-aided detection (CAD) reading highlights areas of breast calcification and density.

The American Cancer Society recommends women 40 and over get a yearly mammogram and conduct monthly self-breast exams. Women with a higher-than-average breast cancer risk should ask their healthcare providers if they should have mammograms before age 40 and how often.

Diagnostic Mammogram

Diagnostic mammograms usually follows an initial screening mammogram which has shown some irregularities, or in cases where a lump, pain, thickening, nipple discharge or a change in breast size or shape has been observed.

Digital mammography has some advantages over traditional film images for many patients, including:

  • Advanced viewing technology, including zoom capability for better detection of abnormalities
  • The ability to store images electronically and transmit them instantly to physicians within and outside the hospital
  • Less radiation than a traditional breast x-ray
  • Patients do not have to hold their breath while x-rays are being taken

The Hospital of Central Connecticut's radiologists use computer-aided detection (CAD) software to help pinpoint areas of concern.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut offers digital screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast MRI and ultrasound, breast-specific gamma imaging as well as a variety of breast biopsy procedures. More info >>.

Free mammograms for those who qualify

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut provides free screening mammograms, diagnostic imaging and biopsies for eligible women. These tests are funded through grants provided by the Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Foundation, Breast Cancer Alliance, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Connecticut, and other organizations. Women must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the free screening: are under age 65 and have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months; have no insurance or insurance with a high deductible, and have seen a medical provider within the past 2 years. To learn more, please call 860.696.4983.

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Breast Testing

Breast cancer program services begin once a patient's mammogram indicates the need for a biopsy or other additional tests.

The radiologist who obtains mammogram results will share them with the patient's primary care physician. The Hospital of Central Connecticut performs a variety of testing techniques, including some minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures.
Before a biopsy, and within 48 hours of the abnormal mammogram, the patient will see a surgeon. The patient can choose a surgeon or the patient's primary care physician can recommend one. The surgeon will review the patient's films, do a thorough exam and explain biopsy options. The surgeon and the patient will determine if a biopsy is needed and which type is most appropriate. Staff at the surgeon's office will schedule the biopsy. Patients will also talk with a breast nurse navigator, who can answer questions and offer guidance and support before and after the biopsy.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to obtain an image of organs and tissues. It may be used to diagnose various breast diseases, including breast cancer, cysts, fibroadenomas (non-cancerous tumors).

MRI Breast Studies

A non-invasive technique that produces cross-sectional images of the breast from various angles. Unlike X-ray, MRI does not involve radiation.

Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI)

This non-invasive test is similar to a mammogram but uses less compression. Before imaging, patients receive an intravenous radiotracer dye. This test may be done in place of an ultrasound.
Download BSGI brochure

Biopsies

Ultrasound-guided biopsies

A hollow needle is inserted into the targeted area to remove tissue samples. Ultrasound-guided breast core biopsy and aspiration ultrasound use ultrasound to produce pictures of the breast and help guide needle placement.

Stereotactic Biopsy
Uses a computer-guided X-ray to precisely locate tissue and guide the needle for tissue removal.

MRI-guided biopsies

Surgical Biopsy

A traditional surgical procedure to remove a larger tissue sample or whole tumor.

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Breast Cancer Care

Cancer program services begin once a patient's mammogram indicates the need for a biopsy or other additional tests. The radiologist who obtains mammogram results will share them with the patient's primary care physician.

Our breast care services include:

  • Full field digital mammography
  • Screening and diagnostic breast ultrasound, breast MRI and a variety of biopsy techniques
  • Weekly breast conferences where 15-20 specialists discuss each breast cancer patient’s case and develop a treatment plan
  • Breast cancer treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Management of other benign breast disease
  • Breast nurse navigators who help patients from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery
  • Support and education
  • Opportunities for patients to participate in clinical research, including those offered through our Memorial Sloan Kettering Alliance

Schedule an appointment with a surgeon

Depending on mammogram results and other factors, patients will have a stereotactic, ultrasound-guided or surgical biopsy. Prior to a biopsy, and within 48 hours of the abnormal mammogram, the patient will see a surgeon. The patient can choose a surgeon or their primary care physician can recommend one. The surgeon will review the patient's films, do a thorough exam and explain biopsy options. The surgeon and the patient will determine if a biopsy is needed and which type is most appropriate. Staff at the surgeon's office will then schedule the biopsy.Patients will also talk with a breast nurse navigator, who can answer questions and offer guidance and support before and after the biopsy. Weekly breast conferenceEach week, 15-20 specialists from Surgery, Radiology, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Pathology meet to discuss each new patient's case. They review the patient's health history and test results, then work together to develop recommendations for the best treatment plan for that patient. The patient and his or her surgeon make the final decision on treatment.

Treatment

The hospital offers a variety of breast cancer treatments, including surgical procedures, chemotherapy, SenoRX Contura brachytherapy and other radiation therapies and more. More info >>

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Our Team

At The Hospital of Central Connecticut we provide a team approach to cancer care that includes weekly multidisciplinary tumor board meetings to review new breast cancer cases and to develop recommendations for the best treatment plan. In addition, our cancer team, inclusive of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and nurses, meets regularly with other colleagues throughout the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute (HHCCI).The charter member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute physicians also have the opportunity for consults with MSK colleagues. Through this Alliance, we are committed to providing a single standard of care system wide. We also offer MSK clinical trials, in addition to others already available through the HHCCI.

Accredited by NAPBC

The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s team of breast care specialists offers comprehensive care for patients with breast cancer and other breast disease.

The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s comprehensive breast program is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), administered by the American College of Surgeons. Care at an NAPBC-accredited center denotes patients have access to comprehensive care, a multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate best treatment options, information about ongoing clinical trials, new treatment choices, and quality breast care that is conveniently located.

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Nurse Navigator

If you've been told you need a breast biopsy, or that you have breast cancer, The Hospital of Central Connecticut's breast nurse navigator can help, by answering questions, helping you schedule appointments and providing emotional support.

Your doctor may refer you to our breast nurse navigator, or you can call 860.696.4815 or CANCER CONNECT at 855.255.6181.

Breast Biopsies

While eight out of 10 biopsies do not show cancer, preparing for the procedure can be a little intimidating. If you've been told you need a breast biopsy a breast nurse navigator can:

  • Educate you and your loved ones about what you will experience
  • Coordinate and schedule appointments in preparation for your biopsy
  • Provide emotional support the day of your biopsy
  • Answer any questions after your biopsy

Breast Cancer

Learning you have breast cancer can be frightening and overwhelming. Your doctors, nurses and other care providers are there to help, but it can be hard to process all the information you're receiving and make choices about your care and treatment.

A Breast Nurse Navigator can:

  • Educate you and your loved ones about your individual cancer diagnosis and treatment options
  • Help you make informed decisions about your treatment and care
  • Advocate for you during treatment
  • Coordinate the team of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals providing your care
  • Assist you with recovery and rehabilitation plans
  • Provide moral support and a sympathetic ear

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Increased Risk Program

At The Hospital of Central Connecticut, we want you to know the facts about your risk.  We can assess your risk and, if it is elevated, we can help you develop a plan for screening and, when appropriate, refer you for genetic counseling and testing. We can also teach you about ways to reduce your risk and can make referrals to other healthcare professionals for more information. A referral to this program may be appropriate if an individual has a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer, a genetic factor that leads to a higher risk of breast cancer, atypical cells found in the breast biopsy, previous radiation to the chest before the age of 30, or a male relative with breast cancer. To learn more, please call 860.224.5416.


Genetic Counseling & Testing Program

The Katherine Ann King Rudolph Hereditary Cancer Genetics Program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut is a genetic counseling and testing program for those at risk of specific hereditary cancers.

Potential Candidates

Individuals who had cancer at a younger age or have had two or more cancers such as breast, ovarian or colon, or a family history of certain cancers, are eligible for genetic counseling and testing through the program. The program follows guidelines from the National Society of Genetic Counselors, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Genetic testing for adult-onset conditions, such as BRCA and Lynch syndrome, is not recommended prior to age 18. There are some hereditary cancer syndromes which develop in childhood for which genetic counseling and testing of individuals prior to age 18 may be appropriate.

Genetic Counseling

The patient will meet with a genetic counselor who will discuss the factors that may contribute to cancer risk. These include details of the medical history as well as the medical and cancer history for the maternal and paternal family members. The genetic counselor will address any concerns about hereditary cancer. If a patient has genetic testing, the counselor will explain what test results may mean for the patient and family members.

What Genetic Testing Involves

Genetic testing looks for inherited mutations or alterations in genes which may increase risk of certain cancers. If genetic testing is appropriate, it is typically done by a blood draw or, in some cases, a saliva sample. DNA from the sample is sent to a genetics laboratory to be studied for genetic mutations.

The genetic testing laboratory will contact the patient if there is a cost prior to testing; most insurance companies cover testing for those who meet the medical criteria. If a person does not have health insurance, coverage for testing may be available through a financial assistance program.

Available Treatment Options

If test results indicate a genetic mutation that increases cancer risk, the genetic counselor will present increased screening or surgical options for the patient to discuss with his or her healthcare providers.

Healthcare Provider Referral Needed
Referral from a healthcare provider is required for genetic counseling and testing. For more information, please call 860.827.4185.

Learn More

Are You At Risk for Hereditary Cancer?

New Patient Information

For Healthcare Providers: Cancer Genetics Referral Form

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut


The Hospital of Central Connecticut