Breast care hits close to home

By Michelle Costanza

October 29, 2013 Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Getting a yearly mammogram is not only essential for breast cancer prevention, but it is also easier and more convenient than many women realize.

State of the art breast care became more readily accessible to local women last September when UHS opened its doors on the Vestal Parkway.

The Breast Care Center offers imaging, mammography, genetic testing, counseling and surgery.

Doctor Camelia Lawrence, Fellowship-Trained Breast Surgeon of the UHS Breast Care Center, said it is imperative that women keep up with yearly check-ups and mammograms.

"A woman can literally come in, have an abnormality in the breast, it's seen on image in study, she can receive a consultation with a breast surgeon, and have a biopsy if she desires, on the same day," she explained.

After testing positive for the BRCA-2 genetic mutation -- the same mutation that Angelina Jolie had preceding her mastectomy -- one Vestal woman began searching across the country for the best doctors.

Her search led her back to where she began, right down the road from her own home.

"Are you coming from home or are you coming from a hotel room because you went out of state? I had the support of my family and my friends, not only right here in this building, but at the hospital. It really does make a difference," said Kathi.

Before her mastectomy, Hinrichsen has an 85 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Following her surgery, it dropped to 2 percent.

Dr. Lawrence explained that not many women are aware that reconstruction is an option as well.

"You're not able to tell that these women have had the procedure done, unless they chose to divulge that information," said Lawrence.

Like Hinrichsen, those with a family history of breast cancer are encouraged to get tested early and often, no matter how many healthy check-ups you have had in the past.

The Breast Care Center shares the third floor with the building's Gynecology wing, creating an all-inclusive location for women's health needs.

The new center has the prestigious recognition for the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, which is directed by the American College of Surgeons. The Vestal center is the only in the Greater Binghamton area to have received the designation.

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