From an interview with
Dr. Tash Martin
McLeod Breast Surgery Seacoast
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she faces various types of treatment – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. McLeod Breast Surgeon Dr. Tasha Martin explains what you need to know in the video above.
Here is a summary of Dr. Martin’s comments:
There are many different types of breast cancer. So, treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. Usually, three modalities are used to treat breast cancer. However, you may not need them all.
If we detect breast cancer early surgery will, usually come first. The two main surgical treatment options are a lumpectomy, where we just remove the tumor and the small rim of healthy tissue around it, or a mastectomy. That’s when we take most of the breast tissue.
Chemotherapy is a medication that we give to patients to treat cancer cells that are both in the breasts and may have spread to other parts of the body. Occasionally, we recommend chemotherapy first, based on the size or type of breast cancer.
Radiation is usually given last as a localized treatment to the breasts and nearby lymph nodes. This treatment helps kill any remaining cancer cells. Radiation also helps prevent breast cancer recurrence.
A diagnosis of breast cancer leads to a very stressful and scary time in a patient’s life. A woman can feel overwhelmed with all of the information and all of the decisions that they have to make regarding their treatment. Patients need to have some support, whether that is a close family member or friend, who they can lean on to help them through the cancer process.
SUPPORT FROM YOUR CLINICAL TEAM
There will also be a team of physicians and other healthcare personnel to guide the patient through their treatment. One of the most important people on the breast cancer team is the Nurse Navigator. This person helps coordinate all of the breast cancer patient’s care. The Navigator serves as a guide through the patient’s surgery, their chemotherapy and their radiation. The Navigator is very knowledgeable about breast cancer and available anytime to answer the patient’s questions.
Have a question? Ask a Cancer Specialist.