Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer is usually treated with a combination of therapies.  The treatment is directed at the primary tumor in the breast, the regional lymph nodes and also the whole body.  This multi-modality treatment means the vast majority of breast cancer patients today are cured.

Fortunately, most women with breast cancer do not need to lose their breast; many women can receive a lumpectomy (removal of the whole tumor) and radiation therapy to the area around the lumpectomy (Partial Breast Irradiation) or to the entire breast.

Partial Breast Irradiation is given twice a day for five days.  Treatment involves a temporary in and out placement of a radiation seed delivered into a balloon type device that is placed into your breast.  The balloon is placed in the surgeon’s office after the lumpectomy.

Whole Breast radiation treatments are quick, usually less than 15 minutes.  Treatments are given Monday-Friday for 2-7 weeks. 

Occasionally, either due to the patient’s preference or because the tumor is too big, the patient has to undergo a mastectomy, but if she wants, she can usually undergo breast reconstruction at the same time.  Even with a mastectomy, sometimes the patient will still need radiation therapy.

Dr. Beitsch is trained in the latest oncoplastic techniques including skin sparing and even nipple sparing mastectomies.

Most breast cancers have been present for several years by the time they are detected on a mammogram or physical exam.  During this time the cancer cells may get out of the breast and spread to the rest of the body.