Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment
After a breast cancer diagnosis, there are many decisions to make. A multidisciplinary team of doctors and specialists can help get a treatment plan started and you can choose a treatment facility. In the past, breast cancer treatment involved a radical mastectomy, but today procedures are less invasive. Treatment will depend on the stage of breast cancer. It may include surgery, such as lumpectomy, radiation or chemotherapy to shrink and kill cancer cells. Learn more about breast cancer treatment options with expert advice from Sharecare.

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    How Often do Breast Surgeons follow up with Patients?
    Depending on the other doctors a patient is seeing, a breast surgeon may follow up with a patient every three to six months for a few years. Watch this video to learn more from Torr Carmain, MD at Citrus Memorial Hospital about routine visits.
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    What are the benefits of going to a breast cancer center for treatment?
    A breast cancer center brings the benefits of an entire team, says Cathy Cole, a nurse navigator with Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. In this video, she describes the variety of care available in this setting. 
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    What Is Partial Breast Radiation Therapy?
    In this video, breast surgeon Evan Tummel, MD, of Brandon Regional Hospital, describes the advantages of partial breast radiation therapy, which only treats part of the breast.
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    Doctors and surgeons must consider many things before deciding on a breast cancer treatment strategy for women age 35 and under. Some important items to discuss are:
    •  saving the breast (breast conservation) versus removing it (mastectomy)
    • how chemotherapy will affect the ovaries
    • anti-estrogen (hormone) therapy
    • timing of pregnancy after treatment
    • reducing the risk that the cancer will return (recur)
    Young women with breast cancer are more likely to have aggressive tumors that grow more rapidly, compared with breast cancers in older women. One of the biggest treatment challenges is striking the delicate balance between reducing the risk of cancer recurrence and achieving an outcome that provides the best quality of life.

    I send young women who want to have children in the future to a fertility specialist before starting chemotherapy. . Chemotherapy can suppress how ovaries work. Not every woman who has chemotherapy will become infertile (unable to get pregnant), however, they need to know about the risk.

    The risk of breast cancer returning to same breast (local recurrence) is slightly higher in younger women. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that every young woman needs a mastectomy. Depending on the type and size of the cancer, lumpectomy can be an option for some young women.

    Several studies show that modern breast cancer surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and drug therapies are increasing survival rates of  women under age 35 with breast cancer,leading to promising outlooks. 
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    A radiologist is a doctor trained to read or interpret imaging studies -- such as mammography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- to diagnose and treat diseases. The radiologist may also use imaging techniques to guide the positioning of the needle during a breast biopsy. They use the same techniques to pinpoint the exact location of the lump during surgery.
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    Prophylactic mastectomy can be very effective for women who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This, of course, should be a very personalized decision, as there are ways of screening for breast cancer, but studies have shown that bilateral mastectomy can be extremely effective. In some studies, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene who have undergone prophylactic mastectomy reduced their chances of breast cancer by 90 percent.
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    Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) and brachytherapy for breast cancer treatment are both shorter procedures than the weeks-long standard radiation treatment.

    IORT has been found to be as effective as whole breast irradiation in preventing breast cancer recurrence at five years of follow up. With IORT, a radiation oncologist administers a concentrated dose of radiation directly to the tumor site while shielding healthy tissue and nearby organs, including the lungs and heart, from radiation. This means a higher radiation dose can be delivered more safely.

    IORT is administered immediately after the surgeon has removed the tumor, destroying microscopic cancer cells that might remain. Because the tumor site is typically at the highest risk for a cancer recurrence, delivering radiation to the site as soon as possible is advantageous.

    Brachytherapy involves seeds of radiation inserted into a special balloon catheter in the woman's breast twice a day for five days. The catheter remains in place throughout the treatment. Brachytherapy is less convenient and more time-consuming than IORT.
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    What Is the Role of a Breast Surgeon in My Breast Cancer Treatment?
    In this video, Elizabeth Feldman, MD from Reston Hospital Center discusses the role of a breast surgeon in breast cancer treatment.
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