Treatment Centers in Fredericksburg & Stafford
When you have an abnormal mammogram or detect a lump in your breast, it
is important to have it evaluated. In most cases, these changes do not
turn out to be cancer, but your caregiver will likely conduct an exam
and diagnostic testing to rule it out. At Mary Washington Healthcare,
our breast conservation surgery rate stands at 80%, significantly higher
than the 62% average achieved by Commission on Cancer-accredited cancer
programs across the nation.
Diagnostic Exams and Tests for Breast Cancer
Before performing a physical exam, your doctor will ask about your symptoms
and risk factors. The exam will include both breasts, armpits, and your
neck and chest area.
Common tests used to diagnose and monitor patients with breast cancer may include:
- Breast MRI
- Breast Ultrasound
- Breast Biopsy
- CT scan
- PET scan
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy
If you test positive for breast cancer, more tests will be ordered to determine
the stage or how much the cancer has spread. Stages for breast cancer
range from 0 to IV with IV being the most advanced.
Surgery for Breast Cancer Treatment
The primary form of breast cancer treatment involves removing as much of
the cancer as possible. Have your physician explain the different risks
and benefits of the variety of surgeries.
There are two types of breast conservation (tissue-sparing) surgery.
- Partial (Segmental) Mastectomy
The other method of surgery, a mastectomy, is not concerned with breast
conservation, but with ridding the patient of as much cancer as possible.
Depending on the patients’ specific circumstances, a physician may
encourage a patient to get a mastectomy over a tissue-conserving surgery.
These circumstances may warrant a mastectomy:
- If the cancer has moved to the lymph nodes under the arm or other sections
of the breast
- If a lumpectomy would result in a very deformed breast
There are three types of mastectomy:
- Total (or simple) Mastectomy
- Modified Radical Mastectomy
- Radical Mastectomy
If you are interested in reconstruction talk with your doctor about your
options and preferences before having your breast cancer surgery. Your
surgical oncologist will collaborate with a plastic and reconstructive
surgeon who will perform the reconstruction.
Reconstructive surgery is meant to achieve symmetry of the breasts if one
has been removed in a mastectomy. In case of a double mastectomy, two
breast mounds may be created in order to mimic the approximate size of
the patient’s natural breasts.
Radiation Therapy Treatment for Breast Cancer
Radiation treatment is like having a standard x-ray (and is also quick
and painless), but the radiation is stronger. A typical course of radiation
treatment lasts five days per week over a six-week period. If chemotherapy
is involved, radiation may not be given until chemotherapy has been completed.
Radiation may be done:
- Prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumor
- In addition to other treatments such as chemotherapy
- As symptom-relieving therapy (palliative treatment)
There are various ways to deliver radiation therapy:
- External radiation (external beam therapy)
- Internal radiation (brachytherapy, implant radiation)
Other Treatment for Breast Cancer
There are several other different types of treatment for breast cancer:
- Hormone Therapy
- Adjuvant Therapy
Speak with your physician to learn more about your options in breast cancer