NewYork-Presbyterian Queens doctor discusses importance of early detection to fight breast cancer

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens breast cancer
Dr. Manmeet Malik (photo courtesy of New York-Presbyterian Queens).

Dr. Manmeet Malik has spent 15 years working at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital. After initially serving there to undergo surgical training, she joined the breast surgery staff in 2013 and since 2018, she has worked as the hospital’s director of the breast center, helping patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to Dr. Malik, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital saw between 10,000 and 12,000 patients in 2021 for breast treatment. Of that estimate, around 800 had surgery done, including 350 surgeries to treat breast cancer. While she notes this number marks a big increase since she began working there almost a decade ago, Dr. Malik credits the rising number of patients with the hospital’s stellar reputation.

Breast cancer
Photo courtesy of New York-Presbyterian Queens.

“Our [breast surgery] program has become the gold standard,” Dr. Malik said. “With our great reputation comes increased referrals.”

Breast cancer
Courtesy of New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital

Since being exposed to this work early in her medical training, Dr. Malik has enjoyed working in this field. She noted the multidisciplinary approach and collaborative work done by those in the department. As a result, she became exposed to multiple surgical disciplines.

Breast cancer
Photo courtesy of New York-Presbyterian Queens.

While she notes that this is certainly a tough line of work, Dr. Malik also made a point to mention that, compared to other forms of cancer, this one has a curable disease process. However, in order to ensure that, she stressed the importance of people getting access to medical care. She also recommended women get mammograms at the age of 40, as it helps increase the chances of early detection, making the cancer more treatable.

“Taking care of women and working in women’s health is very rewarding,” Dr. Malik said. “I’ve been a part of this community for a long time. It’s like a family environment here [at New York-Presbyterian Queens]. I enjoy seeing the patients thriving. I love serving the patient population and giving them top-notch surgical care close to home.”

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month is meant to raise awareness of the disease and funding for research, treatment and finding a cure.

According to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, there have been approximately 2.26 million cases of breast cancer across the world since 2020. Of those cases, around 685,000 of those diagnosed have died from it. Over this span, breast cancer has been the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. Data collected by Living Beyond Breast Cancer also estimates that one in eight women and one in 833 men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lives.

Breast cancer has the second-highest death rate for women in the United States among all cancers, second only to lung cancer. The two most significant risk factors for breast cancer are sex and age. Approximately 85% of breast cancer cases happen to women without any family history of it, due to genetic mutations typically from aging. However, a woman’s risk of breast cancer almost doubles if they have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed.

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