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Women's Center for Breast Health

The Women's Center for Breast Health at Yale-New Haven Hospital Saint Raphael Campus uses a team approach to breast health by working with the patient and her physician to offer highly skilled specialists across a range of disciplines.

Women's Center for Breast Health


  • Access to a wide array of breast imaging technologies to detect and diagnose breast diseases. These technologies include mammography, computer-assisted detection of breast cancer, ultrasound-guided biopsy, advanced radiation therapy and MammoSite.
  • Surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, pathology, genetic screening and counseling
  • A patient navigator who takes patients through the process of making appointments, receiving a diagnosis, receiving a treatment plan and deciding about wellness options; and who informs patients about our free services
  • An educator to help women in the surrounding community take advantage of informational seminars, screenings and counseling to learn more about breast cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Nutritional consultation, gentle yoga, integrative wellness support and services (through the Looking Forward program) as well as wellness retreats
  • The Looking Forward Specialty Shop that offers products --like head wraps and wigs -- and services that address the body image changes experienced during breast cancer treatment

National accreditation

National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) accreditation The Women's Center for Breast Health is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), an accrediting body administered by the American College of Surgeons. This designation means that our center meets standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. The standards include the highest level of proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement.


Most patients will have surgery and an additional (adjuvant) therapy such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Breast cancer surgeries at Yale-New Haven Hospital Saint Raphael Campus include:

  • Lumpectomy
  • Partial or segmental mastectomy
  • Simple mastectomy
  • Modified radical mastectomy
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Axillary lymph node dissection

Reconstructive Surgery

If you are interested in breast reconstruction, you should discuss this possibility with your surgeon before you have any surgery done. Not all women are candidates for reconstruction. A plastic surgeon can describe the various procedures, show you photos of women who have had them, and discuss which might be best for you. Your options include reconstruction with a synthetic breast implant or reconstruction using your own tissue. These operations can be performed at the time of your mastectomy or at a later date. The types of breast reconstruction include:

  • DIEP Flap Reconstruction

    We are one of only a few hospitals in the region that offers women a leading reconstructive procedure following mastectomy known as DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap reconstruction. Offered through the High-Risk Breast Health program, this complex plastic surgery is performed by a skilled team of doctors and nurses with expertise and experience in both traditional reconstructive techniques and microsurgery. With DIEP flap, a woman’s own abdominal tissue, along with crucial blood vessels to support its transplantation, is used to reconstruct the breast. The procedure’s advantage is that it rebuilds the breast without removing muscle from the stomach, as with earlier techniques. For medically eligible patients, the DIEP flap can result in a better cosmetic result, faster recovery and less long-term weakness in the abdominal region. For more information, please call 888.577.9224.

  • Reconstruction with implants

  • Reconstruction with a tissue flap

  • Reconstruction with nipple and areola

Surgical Dress Rehearsal

This program of the Women's Center for Breast Health lets women meet members of the surgical team and get their questions answered. During the rehearsal, staff explain the logistics of checking in for surgery, conduct a tour of our surgical facility, and introduce you to some of the support programs we offer. Women can meet and interact with other women facing a similar diagnosis.

Rehearsals are held every Wednesday at 3 pm. For more information, please call 203.789.4278.

Genetic Screening

Hereditary or genetic breast cancer accounts for approximately 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed. Identifying individuals with a genetic predisposition to cancer can significantly affect their medical management. Either parent can transmit a single damaged gene that predisposes their offspring to breast cancer. The presence of a gene mutation significantly increases the risk of cancer over one's lifetime.

The Women's Center for Breast Health conducts genetic screening. For more information, please call 203.789.3244.

High-Risk Breast Health Program

If you are a woman over 40 with a family history of breast cancer, you are at a higher risk. Even if you have absolutely no pain, no lumps, and no symptoms of breast irregularity, it is important for you to be screened.

The High-Risk Breast Health Program can help. Through initial counseling, diagnostic testing and education, you can learn about your risk factors which may include genetics, your BMI (body mass index) and the possibility of dense breast tissue that could potentially yield a false negative on a mammogram.

This service is designed to take you through all the screenings that are relevant to your individual case from a mammogram or breast Ultrasound to breast MRI and genetic testing. The staff at the WCBH gives you the kind of personalized attention you deserve when facing the potential of breast cancer. A team of dedicated radiologists, a patient navigator, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), breast surgeon and oncologists is ready to deliver a plan of coordinated care to help you through the process.

To find out more about the WCBH's High-Risk Program and to schedule an appointment, please call 888.577.9224.

Patient Navigator

A patient navigator provides individualized assistance to patients, survivors and families. Patient navigators are trained, culturally sensitive health care workers who provide support and guidance throughout the cancer care continuum. They guide patients from the time of an abnormal mammogram, through the maze of doctor's offices, clinics and outpatient facilities and around barriers in the health care system to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.

Our patient navigator helps ensure that patients receive culturally competent care that is confidential, respectful, compassionate, and mindful of the patient's total well being. The patient navigator will help you find resources and support, provide emotional support to you and your family, explain tests and treatments, assist you with arranging appointments and services and advocate for financial aid for patients who lack insurance.

For more information, please call 203.789.4278.

Support Groups

For women facing breast cancer, the journey can be a physical and emotional roller coaster. They may need to talk about it, compare experiences and glean advice from others who are working their way through it.

The Breast Cancer Support Group, co-sponsored by the Looking Forward Program and The Women's Center for Breast Health, is an opportunity for patients to share their experiences with those who say, "I understand what you're going through" and really mean it. Learn more about our Cancer Support Groups.

Early Detection Program

The Early Detection Program at Yale-New Haven Hospital Saint Raphael Campus can help women in the community who are at risk for breast or cervical cancer get tested on a regular basis. Early detection increases one's chance for survival. The program provides FREE breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Partnered with the Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, this program serves women 40-64 years for breast health and 19-64 for cervical health and have no health insurance or limited insurance which doesn't cover mammograms, clinical breast exams (CBE), pap test/smear and other diagnostic services as needed (and covered by the program).

The Early Detection Program also provides eligible women validated parking vouchers and bus tokens for easy transportation to appointments (made possible by a grant from Komen Connecticut) and services to help enrolled patients make healthy lifestyle changes.

To meet the eligibility requirements of the Early Detection Program, participants must:

  • Be age 40-64 for mammograms and/or 19-64 for clinical breast exams and pap tests
  • Meet the low-income guidelines
  • Have no health insurance or
    - have health insurance that does not cover screening services
    - receive Medicare and are in the alternate year of coverage for mammography
    - have a high insurance deductible ($1,000 or more)

For more information, please call 888.577.WCBH (9224).




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