Aug 6, 2021 Only the Best for Women's Health at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Breast Health Center celebrates five years of caring for the community.

It started with a vision: to have a dedicated space within Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI) devoted to breast cancer screening and diagnostics. That vision became a reality in 2016 with the opening of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Breast Health Center, made possible in part by a $1.3 million grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

Luke M. Partyka, MD 
 Luke M. Partyka, M D

The Breast Health Center is one way that NBI is proactively addressing high rates of breast cancer in the local community. “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer we diagnose at NBI, and we see higher rates of cancer on screening mammograms than you would in other communities. The cancers tend to show up in women who are younger, and the cancers are often more aggressive,” says Luke M. Partyka, MD, Section Chief of Breast Imaging for NBI. “Unfortunately, our patient population is under-screened, and we really wanted to improve patient access to these potentially life-saving exams.”

That’s why the Breast Health Center makes a priority of educating the community about breast health. “Before COVID-19, we would give talks at churches and schools about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and encourage people to sign up for a screening mammogram, and we hope to be able to start doing that again when it is safe to do so,” says Dr. Partyka.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the hospital also offers several events for the community, including free breast cancer screenings and breast education programs.

Comfort and Care

Before the breast center opened, patients had to get mammograms done in the general radiology department of the hospital. “We wanted the exams to be performed in a dedicated workspace and in a calm and quiet environment,” says Dr. Partyka.

Accordingly, the center’s comfortable, spa-like setting was designed to put patients at ease. “It has a nice modern feel that doesn’t look at all like an old-fashioned medical office,” says Dr. Partyka.

Cutting-edge screening technology includes 3D mammography, which uses multiple low-dose X-rays to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast and improve cancer detection. Other diagnostic tools include breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs and breast biopsies. Genetic counseling and testing services are also offered to assess inherited cancer risks.

The center has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

In the event that cancer is diagnosed, patients are guided through all the stages of care by a breast health navigator. Treatment is provided by a multidisciplinary team of technicians and board-certified, fellowship-trained breast surgeons and mammographers.

Growing and Expanding

“Within the first couple of years, we saw a 15 to 20 percent growth in screenings,” says Dr. Partyka. “And we’ve been able to detect breast cancer earlier in many cases, which can help improve survival rates.”

This year the center will receive a third 3D mammography machine that will also have the capability to do biopsies with 3D imaging. “This will add a room for us to do screening mammograms and diagnostic workups and will increase our capacity by about one-third,” says Dr. Partyka.

The center has received many accolades from the community over the years. “We get letters and positive feedback all the time,” says Dr. Partyka. “Many of our staff members at Newark Beth Israel use our center for their own breast care, which is a testament to the quality we provide.”

To schedule a mammogram at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Breast Health Center, call 973-926-7466.