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Healthcare: Cancer Care

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

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Customized Treatment for Breast Cancer

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Consultation and collaborative decision making with our multidisciplinary team at the Smith Breast Care Center ensures that your treatment is optimized to meet your unique needs. Your team uses both innovative and tried-and-true solutions to help you manage your complete health while in our care. We work with you every step of the way to help you control and manage side effects. We work with you to decide the best plan of attack for you.

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Advanced Surgical Expertise

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Surgery to remove cancer is often the first step in treatment. The size, location, number of tumors, your age, family history and general health determine whether this is your best option. Our surgeons may use combinations of less invasive techniques to improve breast preservation and speed recovery time. Reconstructive surgeons are pioneering new reconstructive techniques and achieving better cosmetic outcomes.

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Chemotherapy

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Chemo is the use of medication to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells. The drugs are most often injected into the bloodstream through an intravenously needle in your arm or a special catheter. It is usually administrated in what is termed "cycles," where you have treatments for a short time and then you have three to four weeks off before beginning another cycle. Chemo is most often used in conjunction with other therapies to treat breast cancer.

Chemotherapy in various forms is administered at the Breast Care Center by certified oncology nurses and supported by an on-site pharmacy and laboratory. An essential part of this group's expertise is focused on careful monitoring and aggressive management of chemotherapy side effects. Hormone therapies based on research done at the center are aimed at preventing recurrences in patients.

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Hormonal or Endocrine Therapy

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Hormone therapies, many based on research done at the Smith Breast Center, are aimed at preventing the growth, spread and recurrences of breast cancer. If your lab tests show that your tumor depended on your natural hormones to grow, it will be described as estrogen-positive (ER+) or progesterone-positive (PR+) in the lab report. This means that any remaining cancer cells may continue to grow when these hormones are present in your body. Hormonal therapy can block your body’s natural hormones from reaching any remaining cancer cells.

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Radiation Oncology

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Radiation therapy is a breast cancer treatment that uses high energy beams to kill potential or actual cancer cells and stop them from spreading. These high energy beams deposit energy that injures or destroys cells in the area treated by damaging genetic material and making it impossible for these cells to continue to grow. although radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells, the normal cell are able to repair themselves and function properly again.

Radiation treatments are used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Most women having surgery with lumpectomy will have radiation as part of their recommended treatment. It may also be used after mastectomy and with recurrent breast cancers. Standard radiation for breast cancer will include six to seven weeks of daily treatments. Partial breast radiation is used for selected women.

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Immunotherapy

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Immunotherapy is a newer group of medicines. This therapy is for women with high levels of HER2 proteins.

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Supportive Therapies

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Supportive therapies work in conjunction with other therapies you are taking to support your body during treatment. These additional therapies may include growth factors to treat low red or white blood cells or treat bone damage.

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Experimental Therapies

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Researchers at the Smith Breast Center are at the forefront of the latest technologies and treatments. They conduct research called clinical trials to test whether a new drug, new prevention strategy or new screening test is safe and effective. Participation is always voluntary.

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Compassionate Care

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Our unique approach to patient care includes the assurance of a dedicated team of caregivers, including registered nurses, who guide patients through the treatment process.

For more information on breast cancer treatments see Patient Information.