Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women, according to the American Cancer Society. This year, 232,340 women and 2,240 men will learn they have breast cancer. Another 64,640 women will learn they have noninvasive (also called in situ) breast cancer. Breast cancer can often be cured. About 83 percent of all patients with breast cancer live at least 10 years after their diagnosis.
The main curative treatment for breast cancer is surgery. Breast conserving surgery, also called a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, involves the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue along the small rim of surrounding healthy breast tissue to preserve as much of the normal breast as possible. This type of surgery is often followed by radiation therapy. Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the entire breast. While less common, radiation is sometimes recommended after mastectomy as well.
Radiation therapy involves delivering focused radiation to the breast, chest wall or lymph nodes in the armpit to treat any cancer cells not detected or removed by surgery. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by destroying their ability to multiply. Surrounding healthy tissue is also affected by radiation and may have some damage, but healthy normal cells are better able to heal from radiation injury, compared cancer cells. While surgery and radiation focus directly on the breast, chemotherapy is often recommended as well to improve cure rates or prevent a new breast cancer from developing.
Types of Breast Cancer We Treat
- Phyllodes Tumor
- Paget’s Disease
- Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Depending on your stage and particular situation, breast cancer can be treated with radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with each other.
The physicians at the University of Washington Department of Radiation Oncology work very closely with your surgeon and medical oncologist to determine which combination of treatment is best for you. Because of our team’s deep collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, you can be assured that your treatment plan will be highly individualized and based on latest the advances in cancer research.
Please contact us if you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options that best fit you.