Breast Cancer Types and Treatments
Our breast cancer specialists treat all forms of breast cancer with the latest diagnostic and treatment methods to ensure your best possible care and recovery. Following is an overview of different types of breast cancers and the treatments available at our center.
Ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer, may be confined to the milk ducts (in situ or DCIS) or spread to surrounding tissue (invasive). Based on your type and stage of ductal carcinoma, our physicians offer personalized treatments.
Ductal carcinoma may cause lumps in your breast that can be painful or, if it has spread, cause swelling in the lymph nodes in your armpits. A mammogram can identify ductal carcinoma cells. Your physician may also use breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect cancer cells.
To diagnose your type of breast cancer, your doctor will also use a needle biopsy to remove a few cancer cells to study under a microscope Once diagnosed, your care team will work with you to decide the most effective treatment options for you.
Lobular carcinoma affects the milk-producing glands in the breast. This less common type of cancer may not form a lump, making it difficult to diagnose. Lobular carcinoma doesn’t cause lumps in your breast, but can change the way your breasts feel. Parts of your breast may feel thicker or fuller. You may also notice changes in your nipples, such as an inverted nipple.
You may need a mammogram or breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose lobular carcinoma. Your doctor may also perform a needle biopsy to remove a few cancer cells and study them under a microscope.
Lobular carcinoma may be only in the breast (lobular carcinoma in situ) or have spread to other areas of the body (known as invasive lobular carcinoma). Your type and stage of lobular carcinoma determines what kind of treatment you will need. Our breast cancer experts offer comprehensive treatment for lobular carcinoma. Your cancer care team will help you decide which treatments are right for you and your cancer.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer (stage IV breast cancer) is cancer that has spread from the breasts into other areas of the body. Our physicians use aggressive treatments to help destroy cancer wherever it is located.
Any type of breast cancer can spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer spreads when cancer cells get into the blood stream through the blood vessels or lymph nodes. Cancer cells can then travel to other areas of the body and begin growing there. Breast cancer is most likely to spread to the lungs, liver, bones or brain.
Early detection is vital to preventing cancer from spreading. To lower your risk for metastatic breast cancer, you should always attend your recommended mammograms.
Metastatic breast cancer can cause a large range of symptoms including bone pain, seizures, abdominal pain, jaundice, chest or abdominal pain, or chronic cough. You will show different symptoms depending on where the cancer has spread. You and your doctor will work together to create a personalized treatment plan for you.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
This rare, aggressive form of breast cancer can make your breast appear red and swollen. Because it looks like a breast infection, this cancer can be difficult to diagnose and can spread quickly. Our physicians provide expert diagnosis and innovative treatment of aggressive cancers like inflammatory breast cancer.
Inflammatory breast cancer appears more often in younger, African-American and overweight women. If you experience any symptoms like redness, heat or swelling in your breast, you should see a doctor immediately. Your doctor will use imaging tests like mammograms or breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose breast cancer. Your doctor will also use a needle biopsy to remove a few cancer cells to study under a microscope.
Your treatment will depend on a variety of factors. You and your doctors will work together to make treatment decisions that will be most effective for you.
Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is a rare condition. However, men with breast cancer often have ductal carcinoma, which may spread quickly. Our physicians offer advanced care to stop the spread of cancer and prevent it from coming back.
Male breast cancer may be more likely if your family has a higher genetic risk for breast cancer or if you have had to take estrogen to treat another health condition. Male breast cancer symptoms are similar to women’s breast cancer, including lumps, changes in breast tissue or skin or inverted nipples. Your doctor may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose breast cancer.
Your doctor will work with you to determine the most effective treatment for you.
Recurrence Breast Cancer
Recurrent breast cancer may be a new type of cancer or a return of the same cancer after your treatment is completed. It can affect your breast and lymph nodes or spread to other parts of your body. Our physicians use advanced treatment to stop recurrent cancers.
Any type of breast cancer can come back or recur, though some types of breast cancer are more likely to come back than others. For instance, if you have HER2+ positive breast cancer or cancer that has spread to other parts of your body, you may be at a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.
You may notice the same symptoms of breast cancer you had before, or your doctor may diagnose the cancer during your routine follow-up appointments. If your cancer does recur, it is more likely to come back during the first five years after treatment, so it is important you attend all your follow-up scans and exams.
Breast Cancer Treatment Options
Our Breast Care Center offers you access to the most advanced treatments available for breast cancer. Learn more about our comprehensive treatments.
Our Breast Care Center is equipped with the most advanced diagnostic tools, and our integrated team of surgeons, plastic surgeons, oncologists, nurses and specialists are experts in newly developed treatments. We are dedicated to minimizing your pain and recovery time and supporting you at every step of your treatment.
Chemotherapy is an important option in our cancer-fighting strategies. Your doctor will prescribe the latest formulations of oral or intravenous chemotherapy drugs designed to target your specific cancer cells, while striving to minimize side effects.
Adult patients can receive chemotherapy at one of our many locations in Central Florida, in a pleasant, outpatient setting. The open design allows cancer patients to interact and share their experiences with one another, which can help to reduce anxiety. Our caring staff of RNs, LPNs, oncology certified nurses and oncology pharmacists help calm new patient concerns by providing one-on-one assistance before the first treatment. Nurses provide education and are always available to follow up with each patient.
Chemotherapy classes are offered for new patients and their families or a support person. The classes, taught by our nursing staff, are held in downtown Orlando at our Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) from 9:30 am to 10:30 am on Tuesdays. The class is offered in Spanish from 10:00 am to 11:30 am on Wednesdays.
In addition to chemotherapy, our locations also provide a variety of blood-related services and products such as transfusions, platelets, clotting factors, fresh frozen plasma, and IV/fluid hydration.
When appropriate, we also offer our patients the option to participate in clinical trials to try a promising new medical drug or other treatment. New treatments through clinical trials are expected to be at least as effective as -- or possibly more effective than -- current treatments.
Clinical trials test new treatment options only after they have first been researched in the laboratory, where they are carefully studied in the test tube and in laboratory animals. Only the treatments most likely to work are further evaluated in humans during clinical trials. For any new drug or treatment to receive approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and become available to the public, it must pass through three phases of clinical trials to show that it is safe and effective in treating the disease. If the FDA approves the drug, it will continue to be monitored for safety and effectiveness in what is known as a Phase 4 study..
MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy
New technology available at Orlando Health allows for more precise treatment of cancer tumors through real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during radiation therapy.
Called MRIdian®, the system enables physicians to target tumors in real time instead of relying on static images taken minutes or even days before a patient’s radiation session. Real-time visualization offers physicians the advantage of more accurate treatment as the location of a tumor inside the body may shift during subtle natural movements, such as when a patient breathes or digests food.
For more information on MRIdian®, MRI-guided radiation therapy, click here.
Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment that delivers a precise dose of radiation to tumors while sparing surrounding normal tissue. Proton therapy can be beneficial for patients with left-side breast cancer. Unlike external beam radiation, protons can be manipulated to release most of their energy within the tumor with little or no dose in the tissue outside the tumor. It is this feature of proton beams that may result in great potential benefit for select cancer patients.
Learn more about the Center for Proton Therapy.
MRIdian® therapy is an innovative type of radiation treatment that uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, together with radiotherapy to treat tumors and cancers throughout the body. This real-time MRI system is able to capture multiple images every second, which shows your treatment team what is happening within your body as they treat you. Your doctor is able to precisely target the tumor in real time through this system.
In traditional radiation therapy, images of a patient’s tumor are captured before the course of treatment. But because there is biological movement happening continuously within the body, the location of a tumor may shift from one moment to the next. For example, just the act of breathing as the lungs expand and contract causes movement in the pancreas, stomach and kidneys. So, making sure the radiation therapy treatment hits a moving target can be challenging. The advantage of MRIdian® therapy is that it allows your doctor to see the soft tissue and organs moving, so your doctor can compensate for these movement during your treatment.
For more information about MRIdian® treatment, visit OrlandoHealthCancer.com/Specialties/Mridian
Radiation Therapy Treatment
Radiation therapy is a highly targeted and highly effective way to destroy cancer cells. Breast cancer radiation therapy may be used to destroy any remaining mutated cells that remain in the breast or armpit area after surgery.
Our Center for Advanced Radiation Therapy is accredited by the American College of Radiology, and all treatments are monitored by an experienced team of therapists and physicists. Moreover, every patient has their treatment plan peer-reviewed by our physicians in a daily quality assurance meeting.
Having your plastic surgeon be part of your medical team early on helps increase your options. Your medical team will review your type and stage of cancer, what type of surgery is needed and if additional treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy, is recommended. It’s helpful at this point to also consider if and when reconstructive surgery would take place. Even if you need additional treatment post-surgery, you still may be able to plan reconstruction right away.
There are two main types of breast cancer reconstructive surgery available and a number of different options to consider. Your doctor will review your medical history and overall health, and explain which reconstructive options might be best for you based on your age, health, body type, lifestyle, goals and other factors. .
Even though the decisions about your breast cancer surgery, treatment and reconstructive surgery may seem overwhelming, it’s important to know your options. Talk with your medical team, including a plastic surgeon, to learn what your choices are and how the timing of reconstructive surgery can benefit your long-term outlook..
To learn more about our Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery Institute, visit: OrlandoHealth.com/ReconstructiveSurgery
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