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Breast Health

Women & Infants Hospital Breast Health Center

The best health care doesn't come from equipment or buildings; it comes from people. At the Breast Health Center, we combine advanced technology and a full array of treatment options with the most crucial element – specialized expertise and compassion. Every day it is our privilege to evaluate and treat women with the care and dignity they deserve. This is our mission and why we are the best choice for breast health services.

To streamline the check-in process for new patients, please print and complete this registration form and bring it to your first visit.

Breast Health Registration Form

Contact Information:

Breast Health Center
1 Blackstone Street
2nd Floor
Providence, RI 02905
P: (401) 336-6699
F: (401) 453-7785

Hours
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Scheduling of appointments is flexible.

Care New England Center for Health
49 South County Commons
South Kingstown, RI 02879

Early Detection Saves Lives

The key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and the only way to ensure early detection is to see a doctor regularly for mammography screening.

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Comprehensive Breast Care Services

Mammography

 Physicians use the mammogram to regularly screen healthy women for breast cancer.

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Breast MRI

Women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer may benefit from more intensive screening.

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Treating Breast Cancer

Explore our common procedures when treating breast cancer.

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Genetics and Prevention

Patients referred to the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program are given a consultation with a cancer genetic counselor

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Rehabilitation and Survivorship

Learn about physical therapy or occupational therapy rehabilitation services.

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Breast Cancer
Surgical Services

At Women & Infants Hospital, we pride ourselves on providing our patients with the most advanced surgical options in breast cancer surgery. Our surgeons are trained in advanced techniques, and together, our goal is to give you the best surgical treatment and experience. 

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Two mature women talking before doing yoga in the summer

 

Breast Health Patient Resources

Breast Health
Care New England

A risk factor is something that indicates a woman is more likely than average to develop breast cancer though they are not harmful in themselves.

Breast Health
Care New England

The incidence of breast cancer among African American women is lower than that for Caucasians and higher than Hispanics. 

Breast Health
Care New England

Most women experience some form of breast changes, and it's important to know your normal breasts.

Breast Health FAQs

We know that early detection means that the statistics for breast cancer are up. How many women can expect to be diagnosed in the next 12 months?
It's estimated that 212,920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year. In that same timeframe, an estimated 40,970 women will die of the disease.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Diagnoses are made earlier due to advanced screening mammography and our ability to detect cancer at earlier stages.

  • Breast ultrasound
  • Diagnostic mammogram
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Biopsy

If breast cancer is diagnosed, other tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the breast or to other parts of the body, in a process called staging. The type and stage of breast cancer lets the doctor know what kind of treatment you need.

When should I get a mammogram?

Mammogram screening recommendations vary from different government-sponsored groups and medical societies. We understand that this can become confusing when making personal decisions. At Women & Infants, we recommend the following screening strategy for average risk women:

  • Women under 40 – Mammogram not generally recommended.
  • Women age 40 to 49 – While our bias is to recommend annual mammogram screening in this age group, we suggest women discuss their individual health with their primary care provider.
  • Women age 50 and older - Annual or biannual mammogram should continue as long as the patient has an estimated life expectancy of 10 years or more.

Recommendations for screening with clinical breast exams also vary between different government-sponsored and medical societies. We believe there is a lack of data to define the benefits of such exams and, therefore, endorse the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendation for clinical breast examination every one to three years for women aged 20 to 39, and annually thereafter.

For more information on breast cancer or an appointment at the Breast Health Center at Women & Infants, please call (401) 453-7540. 

What is the most common type of diagnosis/breast cancer?
Invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma are the most commonly diagnosed these days.
What is the connection between breast cancer and genetics? If my sister or mother has breast cancer, will I get it?
There is a familial risk, meaning that there is an increase in risk if one has family members, especially a first-degree relative such as a sister or mother, with breast cancer. This is likely due to multiple low penetrant genes that increase risk as well as environmental factors. A small proportion of breast cancers (five to 10 percent) are due to hereditary risk in which a genetic mutation leaves the person at a much higher risk of developing breast cancer.
What are dense breasts and how does that factor into diagnosing and treating breast cancer?
Breast density describes the ability of the x-ray to penetrate the breast and give resolution on mammogram. Dense breast tissue can limit the sensitivity of mammography. Young women often have dense breast tissue. As one ages, the breast tissue often is replaced more by fatty tissue and the breast becomes less dense. Then, the mammogram is more sensitive to finding breast lesions. Digital mammography is likely better and has higher sensitivity in dense breasts. MRI for high-risk woman is also an option.
Do all breast cancer patients have chemotherapy?
No, the use of chemotherapy is determined case by case.
Is a lump in the breast always cancer?

No, a lump in the breast is not always cancer but should always be reviewed and examined by one's physician.

Learn More About Benign Breast Changes

What is the significance of having the mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene?
These are two genes that make up the majority of Breast Ovary Syndrome. If one inherits from one's mother or father a mutant brca1 or 2 gene, she will have a higher lifetime risk of cancer, including early onset breast cancer, ovarian cancer and possibly other cancers. Mutations in these genes are responsible for 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer.
Are there lifestyle choices - exercise, healthy diet, etc. - that can reduce the risk of breast cancer?
While data need to continue to evolve and this is not crystal clear for breast cancer risk, it is likely that following a healthy lifestyle including limiting fat in the diet and exercise may decrease the risk of cancer.

Meet the Team

Breast Surgeons

Jennifer S. Gass, MD
Director, Breast Health Center
  • General/Breast Surgeon
  • Board-certified in General Surgery
  • Director, Breast Health Center of Women & Infants Hospital
  • Chief of Surgery, Women & Infants Hospital
  • Course Leader, Medical Student Education in Breast Disease at Women & Infants Hospital
  • Professor of Surgery and Professor of ObGyn, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 1992
  • Completed her general surgery residency at Temple University Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and oncoplastic training at L’Institute du Sein, Paris, France
  • Academic interests include oncoplastic, survivorship, and sexual health after cancer treatment
David Edmonson, MD
  • General/Breast Surgeon
  • Board-certified in General Surgery
  • Director, Breast Disease Fellowship at Women & Infants Hospital
  • Director, Lymphedema Program, Program in Women’s Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital
  • Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Professor of ObGyn, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2005
  • Completed his general surgery residency at Albany Medical Center of Albany, New York, and his breast disease fellowship training at Women & Infants Hospital/Brown University
  • Academic interests include the use of technology in patient education and lymphedema prevention and management
Ashley R. Stuckey, MD
  • Gynecologic Oncologist and Breast Surgeon
  • Board-certified in Gynecologic Oncology
  • Director, Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship of Women & Infants Hospital
  • Associate Professor of ObGyn, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2010
  • Completed her ObGyn residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center of New Orleans, Louisiana, a pelvic surgery fellowship at Lahey Clinic of Burlington, Massachusetts, and her gynecologic oncology and breast disease fellowship training at Women & Infants Hospital/Brown University
  • Academic interests include hereditary cancers
Micaela A. Weaver, DO
  • General/Breast Surgeon
  • Board-certified in General Surgery
  • Clinical Instructor, Departments of Surgery and ObGyn, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Leader, Residency Education in Breast Disease
  • Has been in practice since 2020
  • Completed her general surgery residency at Flushing Hospital Medical Center of Flushing, New York, and her breast disease fellowship at Women & Infants Hospital/Brown University
  • Academic interests include surgical education and resident experience, as well as gender equity in surgical fields

Plastic Surgeons

Benjamin P. Christian, MD
  • Plastic Surgeon
  • Board-certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Instructor in Surgery, Harvard Medical School
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical Science, Warrant Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2013
  • Completed his plastic surgery residency at Rhode Island Hospital / Brown Medical School and his fellowship at BIDMC / Harvard Medical School
  • Academic interests include clinical outcomes following whole and partial breast reconstruction, wound healing, and nerve repair.
Erik A. Hoy, MD
  • Plastic Surgeon
  • Board-certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical Science, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2012
  • Completed his plastic surgery residency at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University and his plastics fellowship at Maxwell Aesthetics, LLC, of Nashville, Tennessee
  • Academic interests include advanced techniques for breast reconstruction using the patient’s own breast tissues (oncoplastic reconstruction), aesthetic and reconstructive breast and body contouring surgeries, fat transfer procedures and lipofilling, form-stable (gummy bear) breast implant procedures, and soft-tissue reconstruction after cancer (skin, breast, etc.)

Medical Oncologists

Bachir J. Sakr, MD
  • Medical Oncologist
  • Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology
  • Director, Infusion Center of Program in Women’s Oncology of Women & Infants Hospital
  • Director, Medical Oncology of Women & Infants Hospital
  • Course Leader, Medical Student Education in Women’s Cancers at Women & Infants Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Clinician Educator and Assistant Professor of ObGyn, Clinician Educator at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2002
  • Completed his internal medicine residency at Detroit Medical Center of Detroit, Michigan, and his fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Academic interests include the treatment of breast cancer and benign hematologic conditions in pregnancy
William Sikov, MD
  • Medical Oncologist
  • Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Clinician Educator and Associate Professor of ObGyn, Clinician Educator at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 1989
  • Completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh and his hematology-oncology fellowship at New England Medical Center
  • Academic interests include designing and conducting clinical research trials related to the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of early-stage and advanced breast cancer

Radiation Oncologists 

Angela K. DeRobertis, MD
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Board-certified in Radiation Oncology
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
  • Has been in practice since 2001
  • Completed her internal medicine internship at Abington Memorial Hospital of Abington, Pennsylvania, and her radiation oncology fellowships at Fox Chase Cancer Center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston Texas
  • Academic interests include breast and gynecologic malignancies and general radiation
Alexandra Sherman, MD
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Board-certified in Radiation Oncology
  • Has been in practice since 2015
  • Completed her internal medicine internship at Carney Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by a combined residency in radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Academic interests include breast and gynecological cancers and palliative care