FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER

At Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, our patient-centered approach and state-of- the-art technology is designed to offer the best in cancer therapy, including breast cancer treatment. We’re committed to providing patients with the care they need and the support they deserve in a comfortable environment.

A breast cancer diagnosis can turn anyone’s world upside down, and understanding the signs, symptoms and treatments available are invaluable in achieving the best possible outcome.

Some facts that you should know about the prevalence of breast cancer include the following:

  • Breast cancer is actually the most common type of cancer for women. In a year, approximately 250,000 women will learn that they have breast cancer.
  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • While breast cancer is typically found in women, men can also have it as well. Per year, approximately 2,600 men will find out that they have breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer can often be cured; about 83 percent of those who develop it will live for at least ten more years after their diagnosis.
  • The United States is home to over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors.

Learn more about Breast Cancer:


Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The most common sign of breast cancer is finding a lump in one of the breasts. Breast cancer lumps can come in many different forms: they can be large or small, hard or soft, painful or painless. However, there are also several other warning signs for breast cancer. These include:

  • Bloody or clear discharge from a nipple
  • Nipple tenderness
  • Pain in the breast or nipple
  • A change in the shape or size of the breast
  • A change in the breast’s skin texture 

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important for you to see a doctor as soon as possible. Breast cancer is an entirely curable and treatable disease provided that it’s detected and tended to in a timely manner.

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Breast Cancer Treatment

A treatment for breast cancer depends on the patient’s unique case. The biology of the tumor, stage of the cancer, overall health, and personal preferences are all factors in establishing the most effective approach for treatment.

The most common treatment is surgery, which could require a partial removal of the cancerous breast tissue (lumpectomy) or complete removal of the breast (mastectomy). Typically, radiation therapy follows a lumpectomy, while in some cases, post-mastectomy radiation may be required. Chest Wall Radiation after a mastectomy depends on many different factors and may be recommended by a physician or breast cancer oncologist.

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Types of Radiation Therapy

Whole Breast External Beam Radiation Therapy After Lumpectomy

After lumpectomy, the usual course of radiation treats the whole breast and, if needed, nearby lymph node areas. If Whole Breast External Beam Radiation is the decided course of treatment, the patient will be scheduled for a planning session or “simulation” to map out the treatment area. Small, tattoo-like marks will be made on the skin to precisely position the patient for daily treatment.

The radiation beam comes from a linear accelerator, or “linac,” to destroy undetectable cancer cells and usually begins around three to four weeks after surgery. The full course of treatment is usually delivered over three to seven weeks, depending on findings during surgery.

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation After Lumpectomy (APBI)

The long-term results of these APBI appear promising, as ongoing research suggests that it may be safe to only give radiation treatment to the part of the breast that had the tumor.

There are two different approaches to APBI:

1. Breast brachytherapy involves placing flexible plastic tubes called catheters, or a balloon, directly into the cavity where the lump was taken out. A small, radioactive seed is guided into the catheters or balloon and is left in place for several minutes based on the treatment plan designed by the radiation oncologist. The procedure is repeated twice daily for a period of five days, then the catheters or balloon are removed and the treatment is finished.

2. External beam radiation with 3-D CRT is delivered in a similar way to standard whole breast radiation using a linear accelerator. However, it is more focused on the area around the surgery. Treatment occurs twice daily over a one week period.

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Benefits of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. This highly-effective treatment will reduce the risk of the tumor recurring and it will increase the likelihood of surviving the bout with cancer. Radiation therapy is actually very easy to tolerate and any side effects that a patient will experience should be minimal and will only last temporarily.

When it comes to caring for yourself during treatment, it’s recommended to treat the skin exposed to radiation with care. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and closely following the advice of your doctor is also critical.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions about breast cancer. We at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center are glad to help you in any way that we can.

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BREAST CANCER RESOURCES

Breast Cancer.org

610-642-6550
www.breastcancer.org

Imaginis: The Breast Cancer Resource
www.imaginis.com

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

1-888-753-LBBC (5222)
www.lbbc.org

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

www.nationalbreastcancer.org

Share

1-866-891-2392
www.sharecancersupport.org

Sister Network

1-866-781-1808
www.sistersnetworkinc.org

Also see Helpful Links

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BROCHURE

Download some helpful brochures from www.rtanswers.org:

Breast Cancer Brochure
Questions to Ask

*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.

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