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Our approach is to be as minimally invasive as possible, both in diagnosing and in treating breast cancer, and to save as much breast tissue as we safely can. Among the innovative approaches offered are:
A team of breast cancer experts will develop and coordinate a treatment plan personalized for you. They will meet often to review your progress and will communicate findings with you and your referring doctor. This clear communication leads to seamless coordination of your care.
A precise, accurate diagnosis is critical to appropriate treatment. Our radiologists and pathologists are skilled in detecting and evaluating breast cancers. They use sophisticated imaging and surgical procedures to determine the location, stage and type of breast cancer. For more information on breast cancer diagnosis, please see our Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center.
In addition to traditional chemotherapies, patients have access to new approaches that studies are showing to be effective including:
Less invasive surgery leads to faster recovery. Patients do better when they are cared for by specialists in their type of cancer and in centers that treat higher numbers of patients with the same type of cancer. Our surgeons are breast cancer specialists, treating approximately 1,000 newly diagnosed patients per year. Click here to find out more about our Surgical Oncology Treatment.
The goal of radiation therapy is to shrink or destroy tumors using high-energy radiation beams while sparing healthy tissue. Click here to find out more about our Radiation Therapies.
Lymphedema (swelling) can be a side effect of breast cancer. Find out more about our unique Lymphedema Screening Program.
Leif William Ellisen, MD, PhDProgram Director, Breast Medical Oncology
Beverly Moy, MD, MPHClinical Director, Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells grow and multiply in the breast tissues. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the second-most common form of cancer in American women.
Breast cancer types include:
Screening for cancer means testing for something abnormal before it makes you sick. The two most common ways to screen for breast cancer are a breast exam and a screening mammogram.
A diagnosis of breast cancer may be confirmed through tests and procedures including a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a biopsy (e.g. sentinel lymph node biopsy).
Following a diagnosis, further testing is done to determine the stage of breast cancer. Stages range from Stage I (early stage) to Stage IV (advanced).
Your treatment plan will depend on factors such as the type and stage of breast cancer, your general health, and your preferences. Breast cancer treatment may involve one or more of the approaches outlined below.
Surgical options include:
Nonsurgical options include:
Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new/different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of breast cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.
Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Breast Cancer also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.
The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Find out more about this program.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our physicians, please call the Center for Breast Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center at 617-726-5130.
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