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Women's Health

A history of excellence in women’s health care. We are prepared to address every vital medical need a woman has.

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We offer services including obstetrics, prenatal and neonatal support, breast cancer prevention and treatment, heart and vascular care, physical therapy, and more. Our team is devoted to the treatment and care of women and children. With a comprehensive line of obstetrical, pediatric, and cardiovascular care programs-among many others, HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese has spent years helping women manage and maintain their health in a variety of crucial ways.

Experience Matters

Health isn’t just a physical feeling. It’s an experience that’s personal to you. HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese has a wide range of primary and specialty services for women and children in southern Illinois. This includes access to many of the most experienced providers in the region.

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What if I'm diagnosed with breast cancer?

If you're diagnosed with breast cancer, you'll have access to specially designed services including:

  • Surgery including sentinel lymph node dissection
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Rehabilitative services by specialty trained Physical Therapists
  • Breast cancer support groups
  • Lymphedema program
  • Dietary consultation
  • Look Good, Feel Better Program
  • And more

Our breast health team

St. Joseph’s Hospital Mammography Services are accredited by the American College of Radiology – an honor awarded only to facilities that achieve high practice standards. You’ll be cared for by specially trained and certified technologists and radiologists who average more than 20 years’ experience in interpreting mammography images.

What's the benefit of a hospital-based breast care program?

The Breast Care Program offered through St. Joseph’s Hospital gives you the advantage of an integrated, multi-disciplinary breast care team of radiologists, pathologists, technologists and breast surgeons who collaborate at one convenient location for faster diagnosis. It’s a coordinated approach to breast care, for both well care and cancer care. To ensure the care you receive is the most comprehensive it can be, the team also collaborates with family practice physicians, gynecologists, oncologists and plastic surgeons.

What if I need breast surgery?

If you need surgery, your care is coordinated with board-certified breast surgeons. With early detection, most women are candidates for a lumpectomy, where the surgeon removes only the lump and a margin of tissue around it, sparing the breast.

Diagnostic procedures

Most lumps and abnormalities turn out to be benign, not cancerous. An ultrasound helps determine if a lump is a benign cyst. Ultrasound works by sending high-frequency sound waves into the breast. These sound waves produce a pattern of echoes that are changed into an image of the inside of the breast. Ultrasound is painless and can distinguish between tumors that are solid and those that are filled with fluid (cysts). It can also help radiologists evaluate lumps that can be felt but cannot be easily seen on a mammogram.
Sentinel node biopsy determines whether any cancer cells are present in axillary (underarm area) lymph nodes. The goal is to identify the node that receives lymph drainage directly from the cancer area in the breast. This “node on watch” is identified when a tracer substance is injected into the area around the breast cancer, and the lymph flow carries it to the sentinel node. A small biopsy is then done on that node using local anesthesia.
In this procedure, a computer-guided needle pinpoints a lump precisely, allowing removal of only the tissue needed for examination. A stereotactic biopsy is performed under local anesthesia and usually takes between 30 minutes and one hour. Results of the relatively simple outpatient procedure are generally available within two working days.
An ultrasound guided breast biopsy uses ultrasound to locate the area in question. Unlike procedures that require the use of x-ray, ultrasound-guided biopsy requires no exposure to radiation. This procedure is very useful when suspicious changes can’t be seen by a mammogram or an ultrasound. This type of biopsy is a minimally invasive way to take a sample of breast tissue for further diagnosis. It is also faster and less painful than traditional surgery biopsy.

Dietary support

Diet is key to any woman's healthy lifestyle, but for breast cancer patients and survivors, it becomes a cornerstone and lifeline to life as we know it. Healthy eating should be part of any wellness plan, especially after surgery and during treatment. But it's tough to make healthy choices when you aren't feeling particularly healthy - and some days, when you just don't feel like eating at all. That's why St. Joseph's Hospital has a full team of dietitians here for you, ready to offer advice on everything from:

  • What to eat after surgery
  • Easy ways to keep hydrated
  • Foods to try when food doesn't sound good
  • Coping with side effects that affect how you can eat
  • Maintaining weight during treatment
  • Eating to reduce risks of recurrence (studies suggest low-fat diets appear to offer a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer, lower recurrence rates and better survival rates)

Before, during and even after treatment, it's important to eat to live - to stay strong, feel better and fight harder. Start with a few simple tips:

  • Eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables
  • Get plenty of fiber from sources like beans, fruits, vegetables and whole wheat breads, cereals, rice, and pasta
  • Choose lower fat milk and dairy, and limit high-fat foods
  • Drink plenty of water, especially during chemotherapy