New medical director joins CMC's Breast Care Center

Breast surgeon Jessica Ryan says her goal is to combat cancer while preserving a patient’s sense of self and body image.

Published 7/30/2018

Published by the Union Leader

DR. JESSICA RYAN Ryan-Jessica.jpg
Breast surgeon Jessica Ryan says her goal is to combat cancer while preserving a patient’s sense of self and body image.

“Many women believe that mastectomy is best because they’ll live longer. This is, many times, not true. We have strong evidence suggesting breast conservation therapy may provide better overall survival and long term outcome,” says Dr. Ryan, who recently joined Catholic Medical Center’s Breast Care Center and will serve as the center’s medical director.

“Procedures like oncoplastic surgery, where we remove the tumor more completely and then reshape the breast, allows a woman to return to her daily life more quickly. It also allows her to feel more comfortable by maintaining her body image.”

Ryan comes to CMC with expertise in breast conservation, nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncoplastic surgery. 

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is an emotionally traumatic experience,” Ryan said in a CMC news release. “One of my first steps with a woman is to provide support and education in order to help her understand her diagnosis rather than fear it. My goal is to guide her in making decisions that are uniquely her own and to develop a plan that is right for her.” 

That plan may include surgery, chemotherapy and emerging treatments. 

Ryan said she is encouraged by new techniques such as intraoperative radiation therapy. “We are still awaiting more complete data and research on which patients are the best candidates for this treatment option and what the long-term outcomes show,” Ryan said. “But this could, in some cases, replace the 3-6 weeks of radiation therapy that come after breast surgery. Instead a woman could receive her radiation therapy at the same time as her surgery, and then be done with local treatments.” 

Ryan advises women to get annual mammograms beginning at age 40. 

She said advanced screening technologies, like the 3-D tomosynthesis offered at the CMC Breast Care Center, are helping clinicians to better detect and diagnose suspicious masses with fewer false positive findings and call-backs. 

Ryan received her medical degree at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., and did her residency at Steward St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Boston. 

She completed a breast surgery fellowship at the University of Southern California/Hoag Memorial Hospital, where she had specialty training in intraoperative radiation therapy and oncoplastic techniques. 

She joins Chief of Breast Imaging Dr. Betsy Angelakis and a team of nurses and nurse navigators at the Breast Care Center.