Breast Cancer Treatments


Advances in medical science and technology have also enhanced cancer care, especially in breast cancer. In the past, when breast abnormalities were diagnosed, most women underwent a surgical biopsy. Since eight out of ten biopsies prove to be benign, using less invasive methods for diagnosis lessens recovery time for most patients. Today, a number of diagnostic options exist to differentiate benign from malignant breast problems and our surgeons employ a range of these options in the treatment of breast cancer patients. Some patients are candidates for ultrasound-guided needle breast biopsy that can be done in our office or as an outpatient. Another needle biopsy technique is called the stereotactic breast biopsy. This outpatient procedure utilizes computerized mammographic X-rays to locate the exact location of a breast mass. After administering a local anesthetic, the surgeon uses a hollow biopsy needle to obtain tissue samples. The samples are then analyzed by a pathologist with results available usually within 24 hours.

Should cancer be detected with breast biopsy, further surgical intervention may be required. Many patients no longer require a mastectomy (breast removal) for the treatment of breast cancer. However, when appropriate, working with plastic surgeons, we are able to offer reconstructive breast surgery at the time of the mastectomy, often using the patient's own tissue in the reconstruction process. Using smaller incisions (skin sparing mastectomy), we can optimize the cosmetic appearance without compromising the treatment result.

The presence or absence of cancer spread to axillary (armpit) lymph nodes remains one of the most important predictors of breast cancer recurrence and, thus often determines if further treatment (chemotherapy or hormonal therapy) will be required. A new technique called the sentinel node biopsy can now help doctors know whether the cancer has spread without the surgical removal of all the underarm tissue (axillary nodes). This new procedure allows discovery of the lymph node most likely to contain cancer cells. This single node is removed and examined for cancer. The sentinel node biopsy technique improves the accuracy of detecting cancer spread to the lymph nodes and lessens the amount of tissue removed.

Please also visit our Breast Care Center page for more information on single-day diagnostic evaluation of breast abnormalities. Should you desire other specific information about our practice or services, please feel free to call on us.