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Breast Cancer

Valley Health Offers Prevention & Treatment

About one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to overgrow. These overgrown cells usually form a tumor that can be felt as a lump. Almost all breast cancer occurs in women, but about 1% of all breast cancers are found in men.

The Valley Health Cancer Center has a dedicated Breast Center and a comprehensive breast care program accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers since 2009. Our program has been designed to serve patients diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease and to deliver breast cancer care using a coordinated team approach.

Diagnosis

Breast screenings are an important part of women’s health. Mammography, an x-ray test to examine the tissue that makes up the breast, allows most cancers to be detected at this early stage.

Just because a woman has an abnormal mammogram doesn’t mean she has breast cancer. However she may need follow-up testing. Valley Health is proud to offer the very latest technology in breast imaging including 3D mammography, breast ultrasound and MRI, as well as molecular breast imaging (BSGI) and image guided needle core biopsy. Learn more about breast screening options at Valley Health.

Abnormal breast tissue may be classified in a number of ways and can indicate either a benign condition or cancer. A diagnosis is confirmed with a sample of abnormal breast tissue (biopsy) examined under a microscope. Most breast lumps are benign. Still, it is important to have your breasts checked regularly and to report any breast lump or change to your healthcare provider.

Treatment

The management of breast cancer often involves several different medical specialties, with some therapies directed at the cancer site (that is, in the breast), and others, such as chemotherapy, directed at disease elsewhere in the body. Following diagnosis, in general, the first physician you see will be a surgeon.

Surgery

Following diagnostic imaging, in general, the first physician you see will be a surgeon. To ensure the best chance of successful treatment for breast cancer, all cancerous tissue must be removed, usually through surgery. Advances have led to more surgical options in the treatment of breast cancer.

Breast reconstruction can be performed using your own tissue or implants. Some patients have the option of reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy, while some patients are advised to delay reconstruction until other treatments are completed.

All surgical treatments are discussed in consultation with other cancer physicians, and specific treatments are recommended. You and your doctor will decide which surgical treatment is best for you.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a localized treatment which is sometimes added to surgical management in breast cancer to improve the chances of controlling the disease in the breast, chest wall and surrounding lymph nodes. It is commonly used after lumpectomy to reduce the risk of cancer coming back in the breast. Radiation therapy is also used at times following mastectomy for patients at high risk for local recurrence.

If your doctor thinks radiation therapy is indicated for you, consultation is arranged with a radiation oncologist to discuss the treatment thoroughly.

Chemotherapy

As part of your treatment for breast cancer, you will likely discuss chemotherapy with your doctor. This systemic treatment is used under certain circumstances to help lower the chance that breast cancer will return and may be given before or after breast surgery. Every patient’s ideal treatment plan is different. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend individualized systemic therapy such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.

There are many different kinds of chemotherapy and different treatment schedules. If chemotherapy is indicated for you, your doctor will recommend the specific drug(s) and discuss the schedule and duration of treatment as well as side effects.

Valley Health Breast Center

The Valley Health Breast Center includes a surgical practice dedicated exclusively to treating patients with breast disease. Women receiving cancer care at the Breast Center have access to a breast health navigator who provides personalized support, information and resources. The Breast Center is also conveniently located 100 steps away from the Winchester Medical Center Diagnostic Center.

The Breast Center offers a comprehensive high-risk breast clinic for women who want to learn more about their individual lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This may include women with dense breasts and/or women with a family history of breast cancers.

Click here to take a short quiz to determine if you may benefit from a genetic counseling appointment in the High-Risk Breast Clinic.

Support Services

Valley Health cares about the unique and specific health needs of women cancer patients. We have programs geared toward making sure the women in our community are supported in the ways they need most—emotionally, mentally, physically, and educationally.

Wellspring, Valley Health’s cancer resource center, brings together services and products to address the needs of the “whole” person experiencing cancer. Wellspring offers services including wig fitting, haircuts and skincare and makeup tips free to patients during treatments.

Click here to learn about other support services for cancer patients.

With enhanced early detection methods and advanced cancer care treatment, Valley Health is committed to beating cancer and helping our community live healthier, together. Contact us today for more information.

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