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1-855-500-2873 (CURE)

Breast Cancer Treatment

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have many questions including, "Where do I go from here?" At Kettering Cancer Care, we can help you map out a plan based on your current state of health, the type and stage of your breast cancer, and your preferences.

Our experienced team will walk you through the treatment options.

Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer. The surgery may be a lumpectomy, which removes a tumor and some of the surrounding normal tissue, or a mastectomy to remove the entire breast. Lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed to check them for cancer cells. This is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a lymph node-sparing technique.

Surgery may be the only treatment you need, but is often preceded or followed by additional therapy.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Kettering Medical Center is the world's first Elekta Center of Excellence. Our radiation oncologists will discuss which type of radiation therapy is recommended for your breast cancer.

Some of the advanced radiation therapy options that may be used to treat your breast cancer include:

  • Brachytherapy is a type of radiation treatment where the radioactive source is placed at a "close" distance to the tumor. High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy allows for a very rapid treatment time (usually under 15 minutes).
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) which allows radiation to be tightly shaped around the tumor so that there is minimal normal tissue injury.
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) which is used in combination with IMRT to verify the exact position of a tumor internally within a patient immediately before and during their daily radiation treatment. Kettering Cancer Care uses a built-in CT scanner in the treatment machine to take detailed images of a tumor during treatment so the tumor is precisely within the focus of the radiation, maximizing the treatment accuracy.
Chemotherapy is a group of medicines used to treat cancer and some other conditions to kill fast-growing cells. Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery to shrink the tumor, reduce the risk that the cancer will return, and to treat cancer that may have already spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be the only treatment you will need, but it may be also be used with other types of cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and biotherapy and targeted therapy.

Hormone therapy adds, blocks, or removes hormones. If your breast cancer is estrogen receptor- positive (ER+) and/or progesterone receptor-positive (PR+), you may be given hormone therapy medication to slow or stop the growth of your breast cancer. Sometimes, surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone, such as removal of the ovaries which make estrogen.

Targeted therapy drugs work differently than other cancer treatments. Targeted therapy blocks cell signals that affect cell growth, function, and may cause cell death. They are typically given by mouth, but some are given intravenously. You may need to take targeted therapy drugs for a long time to continue to block these cell signals. Targeted therapy may be used alone or with other types of cancer treatment.

Biotherapy is a type of treatment that works with the immune system to identify and attack specific cancer cells or helps to control side effects from other cancer treatment like chemotherapy. Biotherapy may be used alone or with other types of cancer treatment.

In addition to standard breast cancer treatment options, you may want to consider participating in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a carefully controlled type of research study that tests new medical approaches in people. Some of today's most effective treatments are a direct result of clinical trials.

Kettering Health Network's Innovation Center provides access to cancer studies available through our industry partners, as well as nationally sponsored clinical trials. We collaborate with the Dayton Clinical Oncology Program (DCOP) to offer National Cancer Institute and other cancer clinical trials right here in the Dayton area. Ask your physician "Is there a clinical trial that is right for me?"