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Treating Breast Cancer with Therapies


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Endocrine therapy:
Endocrine therapy is a treatment used in patients with breast cancers with estrogen receptors and/or progesterone receptors expressed in the breast cancer cells. Endocrine therapy reduces the production or activity of estrogen in the body, the likelihood of the cancer returning and spreading, and the risk of new hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.

Some breast cancers that are more aggressive and more likely to spread require chemotherapy for treatment. This is also the primary treatment used for triple negative breast cancers. Most chemotherapy is given as an infusion.

HER2-targeted therapy:
Some breast cancers have increased expression of HER2. There are specific agents that have been developed that can target this particular receptor on the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses the power of one’s own immune system to attack certain types of breast cancer. Currently, immunotherapy is used as standard treatment in patients with triple negative breast cancer. Research is ongoing to determine immunotherapy's role in treating other breast cancer subtypes.

Oncotype DX and MammaPrint:
These genomic tests provide additional information about the cancers’ “behavior” and whether stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancers that are estrogen receptor-positive and HER2/neu negative are at a high risk or low risk to return and spread. If the risk of the cancer spreading is high, your oncologist may recommend chemotherapy to lower the risk of the cancer recurrence, in addition to an estrogen-blocking/reducing agent. If the cancer is genomically low risk, you won’t need chemotherapy, just an estrogen-blocking/reducing agent.

Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy

After your breast surgery, radiation therapy can lower the risk of the cancer coming back by delivering focal radiation to your breast, chest wall, or nodes. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by destroying their DNA.

A specialized breast radiation oncologist will choose the best radiation therapy for you. There are currently many radiation therapy options for early-stage breast cancer. Radiation therapy can treat the whole breast or part of the breast, depending on the patient and tumor characteristics. Treatment length can also vary from five days to three to four consecutive weeks. For patients with tumors that have spread to the nodes, more comprehensive radiation therapy is needed to treat the breast/chest wall and nodes, and treatment can be delivered for three to six weeks. Radiation can also be used to treat breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body, like bones, brain, and lungs, with the intention to decrease pain, tumor growth, or other symptoms.

A CT scan is usually scheduled before the start of treatment to map out the area that will be treated. In general, radiation therapy is done with photons (high-energy X-rays).

Proton therapy, a complex particle treatment, is also available at our center for special cases that cannot be treated with photons to better protect your heart and/or lungs.

Because we are an NCI-designated Cancer Center, many clinical trials are available from national organizations and our own in-house clinical trials.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. Early detection of lung cancer with a low-dose computed tomography (CT) and expert multidisciplinary care can potentially boosts lung cancer survival rates by 20 percent in high-risk patients.

Renowned Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester. We offer one of the nation's best breast cancer diagnosis and care programs offering treatments customized to your individual needs.

Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designation by the American College of Radiology. You get a more precise diagnosis, which then guides a more effective treatment plan.

Multidisciplinary breast cancer team. You receive care from a team of experts in all facets of breast cancer, offering you complete care for the best chance of success.

More breast reconstructive surgery options. As South Florida’s leader in post-surgical breast reconstruction, we help restore comfort and confidence after any breast cancer surgery.

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