What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast and can invade surrounding tissue to form new tumors. Often times there are no symptoms, which is why it is crucial to maintain on-going breast health and regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Understanding a breast cancer diagnosis
Breast cancer is a serious but survivable disease impacting thousands of people each year. Early detection is the key to treating breast cancer at its most curable stages.
A breast cancer diagnosis may include:
- Breast examination, feeling for lumps (tissue of difference size, texture, movement)
- A mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast
- Biopsy to obtain a tissue sample
- Ultrasound, computed tomography or a bone scan
- Lab tests, including those for specific hormones and growth factors
- Breast imaging scans (MRI or nuclear medicine breast imaging)
Breast Cancer Treatment Options
At Franciscan Health breast cancer centers, we schedule appointments for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients within 72 hours. Depending on the stage and type of breast cancer, most patients will receive a combination of breast cancer treatments which include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted hormone therapy. Following a diagnosis, your oncology team, which may include pathologists, oncologists and surgeons, begin to coordinate the right care for the best outcome.
Some people choose to speak with a second specialist to vet all options. Franciscan Health offers Second Opinion Clinics. This can help you to fully understand all of the options and feel confident that you are making the right choice for your care.
Breast Cancer Nurse Navigators are nurses specially focused on guiding you through your breast cancer treatment. They can offer explanations and support. They will also work with your entire medical team to help coordinate treatment.
Franciscan Health provides a full range of breast health services including but not limited to:
- High-risk breast clinic
- Advanced imaging
- Hereditary Cancer Program (genetic counseling)
- Partial breast irradiation therapy
- Plastic surgery
- Dedicated breast surgeons
- Research and clinical trials
- Breast nurse navigator
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