The Breast Center at Palisades Medical Center Safely opens its Doors
When her doctor suggested that she have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, new mom Grace Jiang, who had recently given birth, decided to stay close to her Weehawken home. Up until then, she had been traveling to Manhattan where she worked to see doctors and have any medical tests.
“I knew the brand Hackensack Meridian Health and knew that it had a good reputation, so I decided to go to Palisades Medical Center Breast Center,” said Jiang.
The Breast Center, on the campus of the River Road facility, had recently re-opened to welcome patients following the end of the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Located in a brand new, state-of-the art location in the Medical Office Building on the campus of Palisades Medical Center. The dedicated breast center –provides various breast health services, including mammogram screenings.
The center provides women in Hudson and Southern Bergen counties with a highly trained team specialized in detecting and diagnosing breast disease. It offers women the best options for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for all forms of breast disease and same day results on diagnostic days and results in 24 to 48 hours on screening days. The center is open and has taken precautions to make sure patients are safe during the pandemic.
“If COVID-19 caused you to delay care, we urge you not to delay or deny your care needs any longer. Palisades Medical Center is safe and here for you,” said Dr. Margaret Emy, a breast imaging specialist at The Breast Center.
As is the case throughout other Hackensack Meridian Health facilities, measures have been taken to ensure patient safety. These include rigorous cleaning and sanitizing of patient areas, providing masks and hand sanitizers for patients to use, and staggering appointment times to allow for social distancing.
“The hospital is following all of the social distancing guidelines that were set forth by the Governor Phil Murphy,” said Dr. Emy. “We space the appointments out, we minimize the number of people in the room, the patients are far more than six feet apart, I think it's quite safe for patients to come in.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women.
The breasts is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast; however, most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
Many believe that if there is no history of breast cancer in the family then they aren’t likely to have the disease, which is false. American College of Radiology recommends women to start screening at the age of 40 and every year after that and those who are at a higher risk may benefit from starting earlier. Every woman needs to be screened regularly for breast cancer regardless of family history.
The Breast Center at Palisades uses advanced technologies to provide its patients with the best care and thorough tests when it comes to conducting screenings and mammograms. While there are different types of screenings to diagnose breast cancer; however, a screening mammography is the key to early detection.
A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast that utilizes low dose radiation and is used to look for early signs of breast cancer. 3D mammography is the most technologically advanced type of mammogram.
Breast imaging specialist at the breast center Margaret Emy said that a 3-D mammogram gives more detailed information than an ultrasound.
“A 3D mammogram gives more detail than a 2D mammogram. You get more in-depth information because you are imaging the breast as a whole. It’s the difference between looking at a square and then seeing it as a cube,” said Emy.
Ultrasound is another imaging test that is used alongside mammography. Dr. Emy explained that “Breast ultrasound uses sound waves, not radiation, and is used to supplement the mammogram. It is not meant to be used as a primary screening test.”
If an abnormality is found on a mammogram or ultrasound, the radiologist will recommend a biopsy. These minimally invasive biopsies are done by a radiologist using a small needle to remove tissue samples that are sent to the pathology lab for analysis.
This procedure is done at the Breast Center as an outpatient and uses either the mammogram or ultrasound for guidance. According to Dr. Emy, “The ability to perform a needle biopsy has saved many women from having surgical biopsies.”
A biopsy is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies (for example, fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, or open biopsy).
Minimally invasive biopsy or fine needle is a non surgical procedure, uses either a mammogram or ultrasound as imaging guidance. At the breast center all biopsies are performed with imaging as guidance.
As a new mom Mrs. Jiang said she appreciated her experience at Palisades Breast Center, it was very pleasant.
“I was most impressed by the customer service. As a patient you interact a lot of time with the nurses, with the front desk people so I was very surprised and pleased,” said Jiang.
Due to Covid-19, the breast center is limiting the amount of people they schedule for appointments, following social distancing guidelines and providing hand sanitizers to keep its patients safe and secure.
Although not as many people are being scheduled as they were before covid-19 happened, the breast center still encourages females to call and schedule their screenings. Especially those in the age range, or those are at average risk.
Dr. Emy said that because of the pandemic and the community has been terribly affected by Covid there is some reluctance to come into the hospital; however, she believes the hospital is quite safe now. People shouldn’t miss their mammograms because of this.
The hospital is following all of the social distancing guidelines that were set forth by the governor Phil Murphy,” said Emy. “We space the appointments out, we minimize the number of people in the room, the patients are far more than six feet apart, I think it's quite safe for patients to come in.”
Breast cancer can often be cured that is why it is very important to start screenings at age 40 or at an earlier age if there is history of breast cancer in the family.
The Breast Center at Palisades Medical Center has all of the key components of a state of the art imaging center. With its dedicated and highly trained staff, fellowship trained breast imaging radiologists and state of the art equipment, it is a great local resource dedicated to serving the community.