Breast Cancer Overview
Saint Agnes Hospital is among Maryland’s leaders in the fight against breast cancer. The Breast Center at the Cancer Institute at Saint Agnes is one of only 135 hospitals in the country with full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers, a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.
With such a prestigious accreditation, you know you’re going to receive the best, most compassionate care available. At Saint Agnes, we don’t just treat you as a cancer patient—we treat you as a person, so you can heal physically, mentally and spiritually.
What are the risk factors?
- Gender. While men can develop breast cancer, women have a much greater risk. According to breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women will develop the cancer during their lifetime.
- Age. Women over the age of 40 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Heredity. If you have a blood relative who has had breast cancer, you may also have a higher risk
What are the warning signs?
The most common indicator is a lump or mass in the breast. Not all lumps are cancer, but don’t take the risk. If you find a lump, see your doctor right away. Other breast cancer symptoms include pain and swelling in the breast and a nipple discharge other than milk.
How is the cancer detected?
Early detection can make all the difference. Saint Agnes of Baltimore is one of the first hospitals in Maryland to perform stereotactic breast biopsy. We also use mammography, ultrasound, MRI and other minimally invasive procedures to look for breast cancer.
Mammograms are an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Mammograms are X-rays of the breast tissue that alert you and your doctor to any suspicious growths or shapes. The procedure is simple and painless and can usually be done on an outpatient basis.
If you’re a woman over 40, you should get a mammogram every year. For women under 40, a regular breast exam from your doctor is recommended.
How is the cancer treated?
A breast cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming—but you don’t have to go it alone. Saint Agnes is here for you and your family every step of the way. We take a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Our team includes general surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists—all working together to determine the best treatment for you.
Common treatments for breast cancer include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination of these methods. Saint Agnes offers the latest radiation techniques, including a large bore CT simulator for radiation planning. This ensures the greatest ease and accuracy of radiation therapy.
We also offer the latest in chemotherapy and surgical procedures. Plus, we actively participate in clinical trials to find the newest, most advanced treatment methods. Read more in our treatment methods section.
Need More Information?
For more information about the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer, please call 410-368-3434.
Breast Cancer Support Groups offered at Saint Agnes Hospital
Pre-Operative Dress Rehearsal Class
Free for Saint Agnes Hospital patients scheduled for breast cancer surgery, including lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, axillary node dissection and/or reconstruction. This class will provide important information to help prepare for upcoming surgery and gain a better understanding of what to expect before, during and after surgery. Classes will be held every Tuesday afternoon, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Comprehensive Breast Center waiting room, third floor. Registration required. Please call 410-368-2306.
Holistic Breast Cancer Support Group: For all women living with breast cancer. It’s an opportunity to share feelings and experiences; obtain information; discuss ways of coping; and give and receive encouragement, comfort and support. Meets the first Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Comprehensive Breast Center Reception Area. Contact Mary Ellen Bilenki at 410-368-2306.
Sisters Network Inc.
The Baltimore Chapter is an affiliate of Sisters Network Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivor’s organization, whose national headquarters is based in Houston. The mission of Sisters Network Inc. is to increase local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African-American community. Sisters Network Baltimore Chapter meets the second Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Saint Agnes Hospital, 900 South Caton Avenue. Enter through the main front hospital entrance. For additional information contact Le’Vonia Harper @ 301-801-3512.