Treatment

It is important to understand that breast cancer is not one cancer. Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, and an option that might be right for one person, may not be right for you. Treating breast cancer involves a number of options. If you receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, our team of physicians and surgeons will discuss all that it means for your life.

Our team includes pathologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and reconstructive surgery specialists. It is our goal to work together to create a plan that will deliver the best options for treatment. Your treatment plan will be personalized just for you, taking into consideration your breast cancer, your health and your wishes.

Recent years have brought us a number of life-saving treatment advances, bringing new hope and excitement. In fact, instead of only one or two options, today there's an overwhelming menu of treatment choices that fight the complex mix of cells in each individual cancer. The decisions — surgery, then perhaps radiation, hormonal (anti-estrogen) therapy, and/or chemotherapy — can feel overwhelming, but the doctors at Providence Saint John’s Margie Petersen Breast Center are here to help you through each step.

There are nearly three million breast cancer survivors in the United States and modern medicine is a big reason for that success.

Some treatments are ones in current use, and others are being tested in clinical trials. At the Margie Petersen Breast Center, our clinical trials are meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for women diagnosed with breast cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. If we have clinical trials for which you may be a candidate, we’ll discuss it thoroughly, and explain potential benefits as well as risks.

Our goal is to determine your breast cancer treatment options based on your type of breast cancer, its stage, the individual characteristics of your cancer (i.e. whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones), your overall health and your own preferences. Most women undergo surgery for breast cancer and may also be recommended for additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, endocrine therapy or radiation therapy.

The Margie Petersen Breast Center also offers oncoplastic surgery and reconstructive surgery should you make the decision to undergo mastectomy.

It is natural to feel a bit overwhelmed but we are here to help you in any way we can. In addition to a team of doctors who specialize in breast cancer, we have a team of health professionals who are here for you.  This team includes nurse navigators, nutritionists, and social workers along with our spiritual care chaplains because we believe healing involves an emotional and spiritual connection.