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Breast Cancer Treatment Options in NJ, CT, MD and the Washington, DC Area

Patients with breast cancer rely on their expert medical team to help them choose the treatment approach that is best for them. The experienced medical oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates, or RCCA, collaborate with one another and the patient to create comprehensive personalized treatment plans that reflect both the latest evidence-based approaches and the patient’s specific situation to obtain the best possible outcomes. With convenient locations in, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area, RCCA then provides patients with cutting-edge cancer treatment, delivered by a team of compassionate healthcare professionals.

Personalized Breast Cancer Treatments

RCCA’s approach starts with formulating a personalized breast cancer treatment plan for each patient. Including the patient every step of the way, the medical team considers the following:

  • Age: How old is the patient at the time of treatment?
  • General health: Is the patient physically strong? Does she have any medical conditions that would affect the choice of breast cancer treatments selected? What are her future plans for pregnancy and childbearing, if any?
  • Tumor: What is the size, location, and rate of growth, also known as the stage of breast cancer?
  • Hormone receptors: Is the tumor sensitive to progesterone or estrogen?
  • Genetic makeup and mutations: Are BRCA1, BRCA2, or other genetic mutations known to play a role in breast cancer present? Is the HER2 protein affecting tumor growth?

RCCA’s medical oncologists take all the time a patient needs to share her or his questions, preferences, and concerns, explain treatment options, and discuss the best course of action to treat the patient’s specific type of breast cancer. Patients frequently have several options, and more than one breast cancer treatment often will be used, either in succession or simultaneously.

Patient with cancer receives support from nurse

Surgical Options for Breast Cancer

Most patients with breast cancer undergo surgery as part of their treatment. The following types of breast cancer surgeries are most common:

  • Lumpectomy: Entailing removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue for analysis, this surgery is also called breast-conserving surgery with wide local excision. When larger tumors are found, radiation or chemotherapy may be used first to shrink the size of the tumor.
  • Mastectomy: This surgery removes the entire breast and its tissues, including the nipple and areola, fatty tissue, ducts, lobules, and skin. Some newer surgical techniques spare the nipple and areas of the skin.
  • Double mastectomy: Due to concerns about genetic risk factors, some patients choose to have both breasts removed when breast cancer is found in one of the breasts. However, in most patients with breast cancer, cancer does not develop in the other breast.
  • Lymph node removal: Initial removal of lymph nodes may be performed in order to analyze the nodes and to check for drainage from the tumor. If cancer is found in the removed lymph nodes, removal of other lymph nodes may be considered necessary.
  • Reconstructive surgery: Restoring the shape and size of breasts after mastectomy or other surgeries is performed by expert plastic surgeons.

Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Frequently used in the treatment of breast cancer, chemotherapy can be administered intravenously or via pills taken by mouth, with the type of chemotherapy prescribed determined by the nature of the patient’s cancer and other factors. Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells. While not all patients require chemotherapy, our doctors may recommend administering various chemotherapy drugs in the following ways:

  • Adjuvant: Prescribed after surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy lowers the risk of any recurring cancer.
  • Neoadjuvant: In this approach, chemotherapy is used to shrink the tumor prior to surgery.
  • Advanced: If cancer has spread to other areas, advanced chemotherapy treatments are recommended.
Doctor explaining scan to patient

Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

These therapies may be prescribed to help prevent recurrence of breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. These drugs prevent hormones such as estrogen and progesterone from driving the growth of cancer cells. Hormone therapies include tamoxifen, toremifene, fulvestrant, and s class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors.

In some cases, surgical removal of the ovaries is performed to remove this natural source of hormone production.

Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer

Immunotherapies, which harness the power of the body’s own immune defenses to fight cancer, also have come to play an increasing role in breast cancer in recent years, particularly in terms of high-risk early-stage breast cancer and breast cancer that has spread – or metastasized – to other areas of the body. Meanwhile, targeted therapies work to destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells that have specific proteins – which serve as targets for these drugs. Targeted therapies also have played a large role in breast cancer treatment in recent years.

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Radiation therapies use energy to eliminate breast cancer cells. Typically used along with surgery and other approaches, radiation helps reduce the risk of recurrence. Two types of radiation therapy often are used to treat breast cancer:

  • External beam radiation therapy, or EBRT: While there are several different forms of EBRT, such as whole breast radiation and accelerated partial breast irradiation, all involve directing precisely aimed beams of energy at selected areas of the body.
  • Brachytherapy: In this form of radiation therapy, energy is delivered by placement of small amounts of radioactive material, sometimes referred to as “seeds,” inside the body.

Investigate Your Options for Breast Cancer Treatment NJ, CT, and MD

Learn more about how RCCA’s oncology experts can answer your questions and help you determine the best options for breast cancer treatment. Regional Cancer Care Associates provides convenient, state-of-the-art treatments for cancer and blood disorders at 25 care centers in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Request an appointment at the location nearest you today.

You Won’t Fight Alone

A breast cancer diagnosis can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. But when it comes time to navigate your breast cancer treatment options, the team at Regional Cancer Care Associates will be right by your side. We guarantee you’ll receive a customized course of action that involves the most ideal combination of available treatments to ensure the best possible outcome. In addition, we’ll provide you with ongoing support and resources, such as nutrition counseling and psychiatric therapy, to help speed the healing process. For more information, contact us today.

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Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.