Breast Cancer Information

Top 10 things you should know about breast cancer:

  1. Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Self Exam and Mammography Saves Lives – Monthly exams starting in your teens and yearly mammogram’s starting when you are 40 years old. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer you may want to seek help at a Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic on how you can reduce your risk and get closer follow-up from a team of professionals. Consultation with a professional genetic counselor and genetic testing may be helpful. Arkansas state laws protect you from genetic discrimination. Digital Mammography, now available in Central Arkansas, is a method that can improve detection of breast cancer and reduce your risk of recall for additional views. Open Bilateral MRI of the Breast is also available, and is twice as sensitive and more accurate at detecting cancer than mammogram’s.
  2. Get a diagnosis before you go to the operating room. Needle biopsies can be done in the clinic or in mammography for palpable or non-palpable lesions. The information can help avoid open surgery for those with benign lesions, as masses and calcifications can be taken out in the clinic. When the diagnosis is cancer, a better one-step operation can be planned. At present nearly 40% of patients have to go back for a second surgery.
  3. Intra-operative use of ultrasound to locate masses or biopsy sites can be done with most patients, making the use of painful preoperative localizing needles unnecessary. You need to find a surgeon that uses intra-operative ultrasound techniques.
  4. New techniques decrease the risk of additional surgeries. New treatment techniques like eRFA (excision followed by radio frequency ablation), decrease the risk of having to go back for second surgeries to remove the entire tumor.
  5. Lumpectomy plus Radiation is Equivalent to Mastectomy in terms of local recurrence and survival for most breast cancers. When a mastectomy is required, ask about reconstruction which can be done at the time of the first operation. This can be done safely and with very good cosmetic results. Many times the skin over the nipple can be safely maintained. Post surgical pain can be drastically reduced using a newly developed method with BOTOX.
  6. Some limited radiation therapies can help your avoid longer therapy. Mammosite (a 5 day course of local irradiation), and in some cases eRFA (done at the time of surgery), can avoid 5 to 6 weeks of whole breast irradiation.
  7. Pathology is not black and white, especially with ducal carcinoma in situ. Get a second opinion about your pathology from a pathologist that specializes in Breast Cancer.
  8. Breast Cancer spreads to lymph nodes underneath your arm. Detecting spread of cancer to these lymph nodes can predict how well you are going to do, and how aggressive your doctor needs to be with systemic therapy. Sentinel lymph node is a specialized procedure that removes only a few nodes underneath your arm and can reduce postoperative arm swelling down to 2 or 3 percent. A new technique called the ARM procedure can reduce this even further.
  9. Today there are vast arrays of treatments for breast cancer. A personalized treatment plan that is best suited for your needs and lifestyle can be chosen from hormonal therapies, immunotherapies and new chemotherapeutic agents. The best way to get the best treatment is to be a Pioneer and participate in cutting-edge research protocols. A new promising therapy is always offered that we think is more effective or may have fewer side effects than traditional therapies. Being a Pioneer means more hope for you, but also more promise for your future generations.
  10. As you can see, the best way to prevent or treat breast cancer is through a team approach. Make sure your doctors are utilizing a team of professionals to help you get the best personalized care.