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Breast Cancer


Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.

Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped create advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths associated with this disease is steadily declining, largely due to factors such as earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.



  1. Angiosarcoma
  2. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  3. Inflammatory breast cancer
  4. Invasive lobular carcinoma
  5. Male breast cancer
  6. Paget’s disease of the breast
  7. Recurrent breast cancer


Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:

  • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

When to see a doctor

If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — make an appointment with your doctor for prompt evaluation.

Specialized Care for Women

Specialized Care for Women

Women's Health Services

Valley Hospital Medical Center offers a wide range of specialized services for women, including:

Gynecologic oncology

Gynecologic oncologists focus on diagnosing and treating cancers that are found in the female reproductive organs, including the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva. These specialists can coordinate your care, from the initial diagnosis and treatment to any additional care needed.

Minimally invasive cancer surgery

Valley Hospital offers many minimally invasive surgical options for treating cancer. This type of surgery may lead to a faster recovery and less scarring compared to traditional surgery. Learn more about minimally invasive surgery >

Cytoreductive surgery

Cytoreductive surgery, or surgical debulking, is the process of surgically removing as much of a tumor as possible. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be used after cytoreductive surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells.

Urogynecology and pelvic floor disorders

Urogynecology is a specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor disorders, such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The pelvic floor includes various muscles, nerves, ligaments and tissues that support the bladder, rectum uterus and vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the uterus, bladder or rectum lose elasticity and descend or bulge into the vagina.

Colorectal surgery

Colorectal surgeons focus on diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. They can provide surgical treatment for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids and more. Many procedures can be done using minimally invasive techniques.

Medical Imaging for Diagnosis, Treatment

Medical Imaging for Diagnosis, Treatment


Radiology is the area of medicine that uses X-rays, radioactive tracers, magnetic waves and ultrasonic waves to obtain detailed images of the inside of the body. Doctors use these images to detect illnesses and injuries and to develop treatment plans.

Several imaging tests are available at Valley Hospital Medical Center.


An X-ray image is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through the body to expose sensitive film on the other side. The ability of X-rays to penetrate tissues and bones depends on the tissue’s composition and mass. The difference between these two elements creates the images. The chest X-ray is the most common radiologic examination. Contrast agents, such as barium, can be swallowed to highlight the esophagus, stomach and intestine, and are used to help visualize an organ or film.


Computed tomography (CT) shows organs of interest at selected levels of the body. They are the visual equivalent of bloodless slices of anatomy, with each scan being a single slice. CT examinations produce detailed organ studies by stacking individual image slices. CT can image the internal portion of organs and separate overlapping structures precisely. The scans are produced by having the source of the X-ray beam encircle or rotate around the patient. X-rays passing through the body are detected by an array of sensors. Information from the sensors is processed by a computer and then displayed as an image on a video screen.


Radiology - MRI

Like CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces images that are the visual equivalent of a slice of anatomy. MRI, however, is also capable of producing those images in an infinite number of projections through the body. MRI uses a large magnet that surrounds the patient, radio frequencies and a computer to produce its images. As the patient enters an MRI scanner, his or her body is surrounded by a magnetic field up to 8,000 times stronger than that of the earth. The scanner subjects nuclei of the body’s atoms to a radio signal, temporarily knocking select ones out of alignment. When the signal stops, the nuclei return to the aligned position, releasing their own faint radio frequencies from which the scanner and computer produce detailed images of the human anatomy.

Patients who cannot undergo a MRI examination include those people dependent upon cardiac pacemakers and those with metallic foreign bodies in the brain or around the eye.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses safe, painless and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique in that it documents organ function and structure, in contrast to diagnostic radiology, which is based upon anatomy. It is a way to gather medical information that may otherwise be unavailable, require surgery or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests.

Nuclear medicine is used in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of serious disease. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, long before some medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests. This early detection allows a disease to be treated sooner in its course, when there may be a more successful prognosis.

Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radiopharmaceuticals, to diagnose and and treat disease. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by either gamma or PET cameras. These cameras work in conjunction with computers to form images that provide data and information about the area of body being scanned. The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic X-ray.

Today, nuclear medicine offers procedures that are helpful to a broad span of medical specialties, from pediatrics to cardiology to psychiatry. There are nearly 100 different nuclear medicine imaging procedures available and all major organ systems which can be imaged by nuclear medicine.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Center

Inpatient Rehabilitation Center


The Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Valley Hospital Medical Center is designed to help patients rebuild their strength and endurance after a debilitating injury or illness.

We want to help patients achieve their maximum potential and highest level of independence possible.

As patients continue their recovery, our team of specially trained therapists will develop individualized treatment plans to help each achieve their rehabilitation goals.

Valley Hospital Medical Center has specialized programs for:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Neurological conditions
  • Serious orthopedic conditions
  • Amputations
  • Major trauma
  • Medical deconditioning and other disabling conditions

Individualized Rehabilitation

Each patient has an individualized plan of care that focuses on specific needs and goals. Their participation is vital to the patient’s success and can help achieve recovery goals.

Patients are encouraged to:

  • Get out of bed as much as possible and attend therapy sessions.
  • Sit in a chair for meals. The more the patient is out of bed, the more strength they will regain.
  • Get dressed and participate in rehab. The goal is to get the patient to do the same activities they will do at home after their discharge, including getting out of bed and getting dressed.
  • Participate fully in therapy. It’s important to be ready for each activity based on a daily schedule.
  • Communicate with the rehabilitation team, especially about the recovery goals and level of pain.
  • Stay active on weekends to continue to build strength, endurance and stamina.

The rehab unit features a therapy gym with advanced equipment to help patients regain their strength, mobility and function.

What to Pack

In preparing for the stay, patients will need a week’s supply of clothing, including:

  • Loose fitting shirts or blouses
  • Loose fitting pants or shorts
  • Sturdy, non-skid, low-heeled shoes or sneakers
  • Undergarments
  • Nightgown or pajamas
  • Robe
  • Sweater
  • Personal items such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, cosmetics and toiletries

Please leave valuables such as cash and jewelry at home.

The Admission Process

To be eligible for admission to the acute rehabilitation unit patients must meet the following criteria:

  • Be medically stable
  • Require regular, supervised care by a rehabilitation physician (physiatrist)
  • Require 24-hour rehabilitation nursing care
  • Need at least two types of therapy (physical, occupational or speech therapies)
  • Be able to participate in a minimum of three hours of therapy, five days a week
  • Have the potential to improve their functional skill, including the ability to return or move to a supportive living environment
  • Be motivated to participate in the program

Rehabilitation Process

Learn more about what to expect during your rehabilitation at Valley Hospital