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This profile was last updated on 10/15/15  and contains information from public web pages.

Dr. Susan E. O'Connor

Wrong Dr. Susan E. O'Connor?

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • FACS


  • MD
  • M.D.
10 Total References
Web References
Dr. Susan O'Connor PHOTO ..., 15 Oct 2015 [cached]
Dr. Susan O'Connor
Instead, "we'll be fixing things at the cellular level," said Dr. Susan O'Connor of Eastern Maine Medical Center Breast Surgical Specialists and medical director of the EMMC Breast and Osteoporosis Center. "But I think in 10 to 15 years we'll be fixing the problem, not treating the side effects. It seems way out there, but it's not."
Even in 2015, the amount of surgery required for breast cancer is much less than was once common.
"For a lot of women, we're doing less and less surgery," O'Connor said. "Fifteen years ago, if you were going to do a lumpectomy, you needed to remove a lot of tissue around it."
A few years ago, that changed to just removing a couple millimeters of tissue around the tumor, the doctor said. That's changed again to just removing the tumor, taking care to not cut across it.
"The pace of change has become more and more rapid," O'Connor said. "So much I do now wasn't even known 21 years ago."
"I would say probably one of the biggest things that's changed is our ability to better assess people's risks for breast cancer," she said. "There are certain people who are at an elevated risk for breast cancer."
Who is considered high risk?
If your mother had premenopausal breast cancer, if there have been multiple generations of breast cancer in a family or "bilateral breast cancers," meaning a family member had cancer in both breasts, which is rare, that person is considered to have an increased risk for breast cancer. In addition, the breast cancer gene, which is called BRCA1, is a very strong predictor of ovarian cancer risk, O'Connor said.
Many women with mothers who get breast cancer later in life, at 70 years of age for example, think they're at higher risk for breast cancer, but they're really not, O'Connor explained. "For most women, it's an age-related disease process."
That said, the medical community is getting better at tracking genetic patterns in families, O'Connor said.
"We've identified just a huge series of lesser known mutations where there's an increased risk of breast cancer," she said. "This technology to identify gene mutations is just exploding. We've identified mutations we just don't know what to do with too."
Another hallmark of breast cancer treatment has been personalization.
"When I first came out of training there were limited options," O'Connor said.
"We're actually giving less chemotherapy now than we were 10 years ago because we're able to identify who will benefit from it," O'Connor said.
The survival rate for breast cancer is 96 percent, O'Connor said.
"It is the rare person that dies of breast cancer today," she said.
More advances in technology include reconstruction options for women after mastectomies.
O'Connor said there are better implants that feel like real breasts and options, in certain cases, to transfer tissue - say from one part of the body to the chest.
"Certain people and it really depends on breast size and how droopy they are, there's a chance of keeping the nipples," O'Connor said.
"You don't undertake mastectomy lightly," O'Connor said. "The sensation is pretty much gone. It should only happen after significant discussion and counseling."
As an oncologist, O'Connor recommends yearly mammograms for every woman starting at age 40 and a yearly exam by a physician.
Breasts change over time and mammograms provide a record, letting providers see if there have been dramatic changes since the prior year.
"I would rather take out something that's quarter of an inch in size than 2 inches in size," O'Connor said.
Susan O'Connor, MD, ..., 6 Feb 2014 [cached]
Susan O'Connor, MD, FACS
Susan O'Connor, MD, FACS, Dr. O'Connor is board certified in general surgery. She is the medical director of Eastern Maine Medical Center's Breast and Osteoporosis Center. She is also a surgeon at Breast Surgical Specialists. She received her medical training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She performed her residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She is board certified with The American Board of Surgery; The American Society of Breast Surgeons and holds an Ultrasound Certification.
Meet Our Team, 4 July 2011 [cached]
Susan O'Connor, MD, FACS
Susan O'Connor, MD, FACS A graduate of Colgate University in New York and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania, Dr. O'Connor is board certified in general surgery. She received her post graduate training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her clinical interests include laparoscopic splenectomy, breast disease, general abdominal surgery, laparoscopic colectomy and bariatrics. Dr. O'Connor is the medical director of EMMC's Breast and Osteoporosis Center.
Services, 24 June 2008 [cached]
William R. Horner, MD, FACS | Peter P. Huang, MD, FACS | Susan E. O'Connor, MD, FACS | Michelle E. Toder, MD, FACS | Hani B. Baradi, MD | Matthew J. DeRosby, PA-C, MPAS | Jude I. Tardy, PA-C, MPAS
Susan E. O'Connor, MD, FACS
Dr. O'Connor maintains a busy general surgical practice with a special interest and expertise in the management of breast disease including minimally invasive office ultrasound procedures and sentinel node biopsy.She also performs a wide range of intra-abdominal procedures including laparoscopic and open cholecystectomy, colectomy and splenectomy.
Susan E. O'Connor, MD, FACS, ..., 6 Feb 2014 [cached]
Susan E. O'Connor, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Eastern Maine Medical Center's Breast and Osteoporosis Center, Breast Surgical Specialist, Bangor, Maine
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