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Women's Services

Breast Health - Treatment Options

Because breast cancer can manifest itself in many ways, it's essential that you seek treatment from an experienced team of breast cancer specialists who can offer the latest and most effective treatment strategies available, including clinical trials.

At Florida Hospital Celebration Health, our team of cancer specialists, surgeons and nurses work closely together to ensure that you get the best care available.

Treatment options range from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy to hormonal or targeted therapy. Our doctors are also using state-of-the-art techniques, including intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which delivers radiation directly to the site of the tumor during surgery, reducing side effects, preserving more healthy tissue and decreasing the time for recovery. Our doctors can also consider clinical trials, offering therapies that may not be available to the public for years to come.

Whatever course of treatment is recommended, you can count on our breast cancer care team to explain every available option and answer all your questions and concerns so you can make an informed decision about your care.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is just one option that may be explored and either takes the form of a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.

In the case of a lumpectomy, the cancerous growth is removed as well as a small part of the surrounding tissue, which is called a margin. Depending on the nature of your breast cancer, some of the lymph nodes under your arm may also be removed if they are found to contain cancer cells. To test for the presence of cancer, a sentinel node biopsy may be performed where radioactive dye is injected into the lymphatic system of the breast. This will confirm the presence of cancer cells, resulting in the removal of these axillary nodes during the lumpectomy.

If a mastectomy is recommended instead, surgeons at Florida Hospital Celebration Health have three available options - simple, modified radical and double.

In a simple mastectomy, the affected breast is removed as well as the lymph notes under the arm. A double mastectomy is similar, except that both breasts are removed. In the case of a modified radical mastectomy, the entire breast, any affected lymph nodes under the arm and the lining over the chest muscles may be removed during the procedure. Surgeons may also elect to remove a small portion of the chest muscle as well.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is another treatment strategy that may be considered. Traditionally, this has meant the use of high-energy rays that target the cancer cells that remain in the breast, chest wall or lymph nodes after surgery. Advances in radiation therapy have meant greatly improved accuracy in the delivery of the radiation, reducing damage to healthy tissue.

One new procedure that has been adopted by Dr. Olga Ivanov at Florida Hospital Celebration Health is the use of intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).  IORT allows radiation to be delivered directly to the radiation site during a lumpectomy. This method, where the surrounding area receives radiation before the incision is closed, gives the patient the equivalent of six weeks of radiation therapy after surgery. This revolutionary new procedure helps reduce damage done to healthy tissues and decreases the number of post surgery radiation treatments. It also allows patients to have another lumpectomy in the future, should a new tumor develop elsewhere.

Chemotherapy

In some cases, chemotherapy can be an efficient method for seeking out cancerous cells and destroying them. These specially designed drugs can be used in conjunction with radiation or following surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also be used before a mastectomy or lumpectomy to shrink the size of the tumor to make it easier to remove.

Chemotherapy has been used in breast cancer cases for more than three decades and new drugs are constantly being developed and tested to improve patient outcomes while reducing side effects. Florida Hospital Celebration Health is at the forefront of clinical trials, ensuring that you have access to the newest therapies being made available on a trial basis.

Before chemotherapy is employed, our team of breast cancer specialists will review all your options with you so you can decide which course of treatment is best for you.

Hormone Therapy

Breast cancer thrives on the presence of estrogen, which promotes its growth. Using hormone therapy, the cancer specialists at Florida Hospital Celebration Health can keep the hormone away from the breast cancer cells, slowing their growth and ability to spread. Tumors have receptors to accept estrogen and/or progesterone and by blocking these parking spaces on the tumor, signals can't transmitted by the hormone.

There are several ways to achieve this, including removing the ovaries which produce estrogen or using inhibitor drugs. If hormone therapy is an option, your doctor will discuss which course of treatment is best for you.

Targeted Therapy

This is an exciting new approach to breast cancer. Emerging from the leading labs around the world are new concepts in treatment that target specific functions or locations of cancer cells. A good example of this is Herceptin, which attaches to HER2 receptors on the surface of the cancer cells. This slows or stops the cell from growing. Herceptin can also help your body alert your immune system to destroy any cancer cells to which it is attached.