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Breast Cancer Diagnoses in Maryland in 2023: What These RCCA Experts Want You to Know

More than 5,700 women across Maryland will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.1

As medical oncologists who have treated thousands of patients with breast cancer, the physicians of Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) know how devastating the diagnosis can be. But they also know – and want newly diagnosed women to know – that there is ample reason to look ahead with confidence and hope.

“Breast cancer is a potentially life-threatening disease, and that makes its diagnosis a life-altering event. At the same time – and without in any way diminishing the seriousness of the diagnosis – it is important for patients to know that the options for treating breast cancer in a truly individualized manner have never been greater and the outcomes we’re able to achieve have never been better,” says Frederick P. Smith, MD, a board-certified medical oncologist who treats patients at the Chevy Chase offices of RCCA, one of the nation’s largest networks of oncology specialists.

 

Headshot of Dr. Frederick Smith, MD
Dr. Frederick Smith, board certified medical oncologist, practicing with RCCA in Chevy Chase, MD

Paul Bannen, MD, adds, “The latest statistics from the American Cancer Society show that for women who were diagnosed with localized breast cancer between 2012 and 2018, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.”2

The board-certified medical oncologist, who practices at RCCA’s Clarksburg, Olney, and Rockville care centers, adds, “While that statistic is highly encouraging in its own right, some background information provides even more reason for hope. First, as noted, that survival rate is for women diagnosed between 2012 and 2018. The five years that have passed since the end of that period have seen significant advances in everything from the imaging approaches employed to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages to the therapies used to treat the disease. As a result, outcomes today are even better than they were in 2018, and that improvement in outcomes pertains not only to localized breast cancer — -which represents the great majority of new diagnoses – but also to women whose disease has spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes or to distant organs, such as the lungs, liver, or bones. Many of the new therapies approved in recent years are for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Those treatments allow us to significantly extend people’s lives in a way that provides them with a good quality of life.”

 

Headshot of Dr. Paul Bannen, MD
Dr. Paul Bannen, board certified internal medicine and medical oncologist, practicing with RCCA in Clarksburg, Onley, and Rockville, MD

Individualized care, provided close to home

Holly Dushkin, MD, says, “The improved outcomes we’re achieving in breast cancer are directly related to our increased ability to tailor treatment to the specifics of each patient and her disease. That individualization of care typically begins with surgery, with lumpectomy or other breast-conserving surgery being an option for many women based on the location and extent of the cancer. However, the ability to customize care is even greater when it comes to the medical management of breast cancer, which generally follows surgery and sometimes is provided in conjunction with radiation therapy. In developing a treatment plan, we’re able to consider factors ranging from the tumor’s stage, hormone-receptor status, and genetic composition to the patient’s family history and overall health as we select from a wide range of therapies to implement an individualized treatment strategy.”

Dr. Dushkin, a board-certified medical oncologist who practices with RCCA in Chevy Chase, adds, “Options for medical management include targeted therapies, which act against a tumor’s specific genetic mutations; immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the body’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells; oral and intravenous chemotherapy; and hormonal treatments. The latest breast cancer treatment guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, or NCCN, are 256 pages long.3 That is more than double their length from just a few years ago and reflects how much we’ve been able to identify evidence-based treatment strategies for different types and stages of breast cancer. And by the way, the NCCN’s 2023 guidelines had already been updated twice by March of this year – that’s how fast new treatments and approaches are being adopted.”

The RCCA oncologists add that advances in treating breast cancer have been accompanied by progress in delivering the latest therapies in community-based settings near patients’ homes. They explain that the innate stress of contending with cancer can be increased by having to travel a long distance to receive care, or by having to deal with city traffic and parking, and needing to navigate through a large hospital. By contrast, at community-based care centers such as RCCA’s locations in Chevy Chase, Clarksburg, Olney, and Rockville, people can receive the same FDA-approved agents and evidence-based, guidelines-recommended treatment strategies offered at academic medical centers in Washington, DC; Philadelphia; or New York. RCCA’s community-based care centers also offer access to dozens of clinical trials and cutting-edge diagnostics, including genomic assessments, in convenient, comforting settings where all staff members come to know each patient and the patient’s family very well.

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Drs. Smith, Bannen, and Dushkin – along with board-certified medical oncologists Frederick Barr, MD, who practices at RCCA’s Chevy Chase office, and Chitra Rajagopal, MD, who practices at RCCA’s Clarksburg, Olney, and Rockville care centers — are among the 90+ cancer specialists who treat patients at more than 20 RCCA care centers located throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC, area. RCCA oncologists and hematologists see more than 23,000 new patients each year and provide care to more than 225,000 established patients, collaborating closely with their patients’ other physicians. They offer patients the latest in cutting-edge treatments, including immunotherapies and targeted therapy, as well as access to a wide range of clinical trials. In addition to serving patients who have solid tumors, blood-based cancers, and benign blood disorders such as anemia, RCCA care centers also provide infusion services to people with a number of non-oncologic conditions—including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, iron-deficiency anemia, and rheumatoid arthritis—who take intravenously-administered medications.

To learn more about RCCA, call 844-928-0089 or visit RCCA.com.  

References:

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2023. Available at https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/2023-cancer-facts-figures.html. Accessed March 25, 2023.
  2. American Cancer Society. Survival rates for breast cancer. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis/breast-cancer-survival-rates.html. Accessed March 25, 2023.
  3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®). Breast Cancer. Version 3.2023. March 3, 2023. Available at https://www.nccn.org/login?ReturnURL=https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/breast.pdf. Accessed March 23, 2023.

Breast cancer diagnoses in women: Recent trends in Maryland

Location

Average annual count, 2015-2019

Recent 5-year trend

United States

253,845

Rising

Maryland

5054

Stable

Allegany County

68

Stable

Anne Arundel County

470

Stable

Baltimore City

465

Stable

Baltimore County

805

Rising

Calvert County

74

Stable

Caroline County

25

Falling

Carroll County

151

Stable

Cecil County

78

Stable

Charles County

116

Stable

Dorchester County

30

Stable

Frederick County

203

Stable

Garrett County

28

Stable

Harford County

242

Stable

Howard County

264

Stable

Kent County

20

Stable

Montgomery County

828

Stable

Prince George’s County

717

Stable

Queen Anne’s County

44

Stable

Somerset County

22

Stable

Talbot County

45

Stable

Washington County

132

Rising

Wicomico County

82

Stable

Worcester County

60

Stable

Source: National Cancer Institute. State Cancer Profiles. Available at: https://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/. Accessed March 23, 2023.

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call 844-346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.

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