A Team Approach to Breast Cancer Treatment

by the Medical Teams at Alliance Cancer Care Arizona and Alliance Surgery Arizona

Every year, more than 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. From the moment a woman is faced with the news of an abnormal mammogram, it is impossible not to feel a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty.

Having a team of physicians and breast cancer experts focused on you from that moment, being your guide with the decision making, and ensuring the most collaborative care with all treatment options available is the best start.

There are several different types of breast cancer, with treatment options unique to every cancer patient. At Alliance Cancer Care Arizona and Alliance Surgery Arizona, our physicians, and teamwork together throughout your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Our integrated treatment approach with surgery, radiation therapy, and medical oncology, along with resources such as local support groups, nutrition and exercise allows you to have the best possible outcome.

Our ultimate goal is to provide individualized care with a multidisciplinary approach and make a difficult time as easy as possible for women.

The surgical care of breast cancer is a very important component to achieve a cure, and the goal is to remove the disease with the least trauma and least change to the body. Surgical options include breast conservation techniques and mastectomy with or without reconstruction, the decision of which is the best option will be determined by several factors addressed on an individual basis.

The role of radiation therapy for the treatment of breast cancer is very important in allowing women to preserve their breasts. Historically, women with breast cancer used to have their entire breast removed. Patients can now have the breast lump removed (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy to the remainder of the breast, which is now the new standard of care called breast-conserving therapy.

There are now multiple types of radiation therapy for the breast, including whole breast radiation therapy or partial breast radiation therapy. Patients can also now receive radiation therapy to the breast in much shorter periods — now many patients can get this treatment done in three weeks.

There also are newer forms of radiation therapy that target a part of the breast rather than the whole breast. Some patients can receive radiation at the same time of surgery.

Medical oncology will help if further treatments are needed. This will depend on the type of breast cancer. Broadly, the different breast cancer types include: hormone-sensitive breast cancer, for which medications such as anti-estrogens (tamoxifen) to aromatase inhibitors (anastrazole, letrozole, exemestane) and estrogen receptor down regulators (fulvestrant) are offered; HER 2 positive breast cancer, named after the discovery of the oncogene HER2 for which therapies to block the effect of HER 2 on cancer growth are offered (trastuzumab, pertuzumab); and triple-negative breast cancer, generally associated with the breast cancer genes (BRCA1/BRCA2) for which traditional chemotherapy continues to be the main treatment strategy.

Increased knowledge and innovations in breast cancer diagnosis and treatments make the future bright for women diagnosed with this illness.

If you, or a loved one, have had an abnormal mammogram, been diagnosed with breast cancer, or would like to receive a second opinion on breast cancer treatment, please visit AZBreastCare.com or call us at 520-876-0416 today.