Breast Cancer Treatment

Though there is no known cure for breast cancer, when diagnosed early, survival rates can be as high as 95 percent in five years. Treatment options for breast cancer can include:

Surgery

Surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible is the primary treatment for breast cancer. Today, there are many surgical options and choices, dependent on:

  • size and location of the breast lump or tumor
  • type and stage of breast cancer, including whether the cancer has spread within the breast or outside the breast to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body
  • the size of the breast
  • the woman’s preference

There are several types of surgery available and you should talk to your physician about any questions or concerns you may have.

At Beaumont, our doctors continue to lead in developing innovative techniques to treat patients with breast cancer. Our surgeons focus entirely on breast cancer surgery. We are one of the most progressive institutions using breast conserving therapy, sentinel node biopsy and other minimally invasive techniques to manage early stage breast cancer. And Beaumont doctors are experts in newer, advanced surgical options such as nipple sparing mastectomy, oncoplastic procedures and advanced microvascular reconstructive surgery. These techniques help achieve the best oncologic and cosmetic outcomes and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy treatment with a variety of anticancer drugs remains a mainstay of breast cancer treatment. Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells; it reaches all parts of the body, not just the cancer cells. The oncologist will recommend a treatment plan, based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • whether you are menstruating
  • type and stage of cancer
  • your tolerance for specific medications and procedures
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Medical oncologists at Beaumont set an extremely high standard of care in the evolving science of anticancer drugs. Current research protocols study investigational treatments, medications and therapeutic techniques. Beaumont’s clinical trials are so well respected that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated the hospital as a Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). This achievement entitles us to NCI support for Beaumont’s research.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a process that precisely sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. Radiation done after surgery can kill cancer cells that may not be seen during surgery. Radiation may also be done:

  • prior to surgery to shrink the tumor.
  • in combination with chemotherapy.
  • as a palliative treatment (therapy that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but does not alter the course of the disease).

There are various ways to deliver radiation therapy, including external radiation (external beam therapy) and internal radiation (brachytherapy, implant radiation). External radiation is the usual type that is used for treatment of breast cancer.

Beaumont doctors have been on the leading edge of pioneering new and innovative treatments for breast cancer patients. We are one of the few hospitals in the nation to offer patients all three forms of accelerated partial breast irradiation, the first to develop Active Breathing Control (a respiratory resting program that reduces the breathing motion during treatment and significantly reduces heart radiation for women with left-sided breast cancer) and pioneers in offering image-guided radiation therapy.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy for breast cancer primarily includes:

  • TamoxifenMore than 20 years ago oral tamoxifen was introduced to treat early and advanced breast cancers. Today it is also prescribed after primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer. The drug acts to block the female hormone estrogen, which promotes cancer growth.

  • Taxol: Taxol was approved in 1992 for the treatment of advanced breast and ovarian cancer. Researchers continue to refine the use of Taxol in combination with other treatments for breast cancer.

Connect with a Specialist

For more information about multidisciplinary breast cancer care at Beaumont and to get a referral, call 248-551-1936 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

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