Much progress has been made in understanding the biology and behavior of breast cancer, and there have been many changes and advances in treatment. Today, a woman has more treatment options than ever before. That in an of itself can be confusing for many women. Breast cancer is not one disease – there are multiple types and every case is different.
Because there are often many different treatment options, there should not be a rush to make a decision or to start treatment. In fact, with most breast cancers, YOU HAVE TIME. Time to gather all information, which may include additional imaging studies or other testing. Time to get more than one opinion. Time to talk with other women. And time to carefully consider all of your options. A woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer can expect to “inherit” a team – that team will be made up of a breast surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist (if radiation is necessary). Other important members of the team may include a nurse navigator, physical therapist, genetic counselor, social worker, spiritual care provider, and psychologist or therapist. In addition, resources for diet, nutrition and lifestyle counseling may be recommended.
“One size fits all” does NOT apply to breast cancer treatment recommendations. The size and biologic behavior (a measure of how aggressive the cancer cells are) of the tumor as well as whether or not there has been spread into lymph nodes or other areas of the body are all essential pieces of information about YOUR specific breast cancer. Get these details before you attempt to review the overwhelming amount of information that is available. Once you have some specifics about your tumor, reading articles will make much more sense.
The first few days and weeks following a cancer diagnosis are extremely difficult, but taking the time you need to make clear informed decisions is important. My goal is always to provide as personalized a treatment recommendation as possible, and to work with you to develop a treatment plan that you are comfortable with.
Dr. Attai does not provide online medical advice. The information provided is for general information only.
No online site should be used as a substitute for personal medical attention.