According to the American Cancer Society, more than 260,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2018. While that number may seem large, there is a silver lining with hope for every woman who must embark on a breast cancer journey. Medical science is making breakthroughs every day, finding cures and new treatments for multiple forms of this disease. Many of these innovative and revolutionary treatment programs are available right here in Central Florida.
Multidisciplinary Expertise Means Quicker Treatment
One new approach that’s gaining attention involves bringing together a team of breast cancer specialists, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and breast cancer surgeons, all at the same location. These specialists can each evaluate a patient and then work together to develop a targeted treatment plan in a single visit.
This multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic approach can help ease the minds of patients already experiencing a challenging time because they do not have to travel to different doctors for multiple consultations, which also allows treatment to begin much faster. Combining this approach with today’s advanced technologies for treating breast cancer – like the new TrueBeam® system, which precisely delivers radiation to a tumor site while sparing healthy tissue – patients have a much better chance of finding cures.
"We believe the team approach provides patients the highest quality of care," says Lisa Minton, MD, board-certified breast cancer surgeon. "We can evaluate breast cancer patients in a comprehensive, single-day setting and decrease the time between diagnosis and treatment." Detailing what the team approach really means, Dr. Minton says that prior to a patient's appointment, her medical oncologist, breast surgeon and radiation oncologist jointly review her case to determine a path that is most likely to produce an optimal outcome. Next, the care team personally consults with the patient to discuss her treatment options and what might work best for her. Additional appointments for medical imaging, labs or ancillary services such as plastic surgery are discussed with the patient and scheduled as needed.
Specialists on Your Side
A medical oncologist is a doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. "Often the main healthcare provider for cancer patients, a medical oncologist can provide supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists," Dr. Minton explains.
Meanwhile, sub-specialized radiation oncologists use some of the most innovative radiation therapies and techniques available to target and kill cancer cells. "The latest technologies can target cancer cells with pinpoint accuracy, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unscathed," says a Dr. Catherine Hwang, a board-certified radiation oncologist who is part of the same breast cancer team as Dr. Minton.
The third and equally important part of your team is your breast cancer surgeon, a physician who specializes in the surgical management of breast cancers. Speaking on behalf of her team, Dr. Minton says, “Our surgeons are also there to discuss surgical pain-management options and coordinate reconstructive breast surgery plans if the patient desires."
Mammograms Make Sense
Remember that your best defense against breast cancer is to be proactive with a regularly scheduled mammogram. This simple procedure helps ensure that any breast abnormalities can be discovered and evaluated at an early stage, when they are most effectively treated and eliminated.
About Dr. Minton
Lisa Minton, MD, is board certified in general surgery with a specialty in breast care. She combines 20 years of clinical expertise and some of the most current surgical techniques with a passion to help patients return to good health and lead full, active lifestyles. For more information and to book an appointment, call (407) 303-5214 or visit FHMedicalGroup.com.