Breast Cancer Treatment: Which Option is Right?
If you have breast cancer, working with an expert medical team that can individualize treatment to your particular situation is key to ensuring the best possible outcome. Patients with breast cancer in New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut can rely on expert care from Regional Cancer Care Associates. Our team of specialists will collaborate to find the best breast cancer treatment options for your individual needs. Here’s a look at what you can expect.
At Regional Cancer Care Associates, you’ll receive the highest standard of care for your specific form of breast cancer from our on-site medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, as well as from our plastic surgeons, oncology nurses and other medical staff. Your exact breast cancer treatment options are also determined by your:
- Age at the time of treatment
- Size and rate of tumor growth
- Hormone receptor and HER2 condition
- Oncotype DX, MammaPrint or other genomic markers
- Stage of cancer
- Mutations in genetic breast cancer genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2
- General health, including menopausal status
Your oncologist can help explain these factors and clarify how they will determine your course of treatment.
Types of Surgery
Most patients with breast cancer undergo some form of surgery, especially if their tumor is small. During the procedure, we aim to both safely remove the tumor and determine whether the cancer has spread. We’ll also perform reconstructive surgery on your breast(s) if needed to restore shape—and your emotional well-being.
There are two types of breast cancer surgery: lumpectomy and mastectomy. During a lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery, only the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue are taken out of the breast. By contrast, a mastectomy involves removal of the entire breast, along with nearby tissues. Each procedure has its benefits and side effects, and while choosing breast conservation or removal can be the hardest decision of your life, we will help you weigh each option so you can make the optimal choice for you.
Commonly known as “chemo,” this is one of the most frequently used breast cancer treatment options, yet not all patients will require it. Chemotherapy utilizes both intravenous and orally injected medications that combat cancer cells. There are several types of chemotherapy, including:
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, which occurs after surgery and lowers the risk of the cancer returning
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which attempts to shrink the tumor before surgery
- Advanced chemotherapy, for instances of breast cancer spreading to other areas
This breast cancer treatment option can help prevent the cancer from coming back. As most breast cancers are considered to be hormone receptor-positive, several types of hormone therapy can be used to keep estrogen levels from feeding the cancer’s growth. Hormone therapy typically is a five-year treatment process that can involve:
- Medications, including tamoxifen, toremifene and fulvestrant
- Removal or suppression of the ovaries
- Aromatase inhibitors (AIs)
Some patients may require radiation. This treatment is commonly used after breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy, or if cancer has spread outside the breast. The two main types of radiation therapy include external beam radiation, which involves use of machinery outside the body; and internal radiation, also known as brachytherapy, during which the radiation is delivered within the body for a short period.
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.