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Breast Cancer Treatment at Winship

The past two decades have seen large improvements in the treatment of breast cancer. With increased early detection through mammography and bresat conserving surgery options that conserve much of the breast, some of the trauma associated with breast cancer treatment has been reduced while chances for long-term survival have increased.

Fortunately, now more than 60% of women are diagnaosed with breast cancer in earlier stages -  stage 1 or 2.  When appropriately treated, usually with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or adjuvant systemic therapy, such women have a high rate of survival.

Decisions About Treatment Options
The choice of a particular treatment should be based on a good understanding of all the options and how each relates to a woman's personal values and lifestyle. Women with very similar types of breast cancer often choose different courses of treatment because they have different ideas of what they want from treatment and how the treatment will affect their lives both during and afterward. The goal of treating breast cancer is to eliminate the cancer from the body as completely as possible and prevent it from returning. This is usually done with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy/hormone therapy.

Breast conserving surgery (also known as partial mastectomy, lumpectomy, wide excision, or excisional biopsy) is the standard of care in the treatment of breast cancer. The procedure is called "breast conserving" because only part of the breast - the part containing and closely surrounding the cancer - is removed. This leaves much of the breast looking as normal as possible. In the past, total mastectomy was the favored treatment because it was thought to be the best means of getting rid of all the cancer in the breast and chest area. Today, however, many studies have consistently shown that breast conserving surgery, when used with radiation therapy, is just as effective as total mastectomy in treating early-stage breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Treatments

  • Local Treatments - Surgery and radiation therapy are called local treatments.
  • Systemic Therapy - Chemotherapy and hormone therapy make up what is called systemic therapy.