Breast cancer treatment and diagnosis

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, but early diagnosis and treatment can mean a positive outcome for many. The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump, but other symptoms may include changes in your breast size, color and shape. We specialize in the latest technologies to treat breast cancer that are proven to be effective. Our breast specialists will be with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond, to ensure that you receive the best possible care during your time with us. After all, we’re treating you, not just your cancer.

Chapter 1

Diagnostics

Breast cancer is often diagnosed using imaging scans, such as ultrasound or mammography, and a biopsy. Your doctor may use other tests to identify the problem, find out more about your cancer, where it’s located and which treatments are likely to be most effective. Some of these tests are also used to assess how well your treatment is working.

Find your nearest GenesisCare center to find out what diagnostic tests and scans are available in your local area. Whatever your outcome, our expert team will support you throughout your treatment journey.

Genetic testing

The BRCA gene test is a blood test that looks for harmful mutations in two specific genes – the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. People who inherit these genetic mutations are more at risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

Your physician may recommend a BRCA test if you have a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer. If you’re offered a genetic test, you may be referred to a genetic counsellor to help you think through what the test could mean for you and your family before you decide to go ahead with the test.

Chapter 2

Surgery

Our expert team of breast surgeons are specially trained in surgical removal of benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors of the breast. There are different procedures used for breast cancer surgery and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate one for you depending on how advanced and fast growing your disease is.

Types of surgery for breast cancer

Mastectomy

For more extensive cancers within the breast, surgeons often perform a full mastectomy to remove the entire breast, as well as surrounding lymph nodes.

Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery

We also offer new surgical techniques, including the Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery technique, which can improve your cosmetic appearance while preserving our outstanding clinical results. Our surgeons who offer this technique have been specially trained in this procedure to ensure that you have the best surgical outcome.

Lumpectomy

This is also known as a partial mastectomy or breast conserving surgery and is the removal of the cancerous lump and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue that may contain cancerous cells. Some of your lymph nodes under your arm may also be removed for further testing. Your surgeon will recommend a lumpectomy if your cancer is small and has not grown further into the breast.

Chapter 3

Radiation therapy

At GenesisCare we specialize in advanced radiation therapy techniques that are designed to be effective and minimize the side effects you’ll experience. As the largest radiation oncology provider in the U.S. and a global leader in cancer care, our broad experience and world-class expertise means we offer advanced and innovative radiotherapy as standard.

Our latest-generation machines are built to deliver highly targeted radiation beams. The accuracy of these treatments, together with the expertise of our teams, helps our patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

The type of breast cancer treatment your radiation oncologist recommends will depend on your diagnosis, if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, your general health and personal preferences.

Breast cancer treatments

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT),

At GenesisCare our breast cancer treatments include external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), where radiation is delivered from outside the body, and internal radiation therapy (IRT), where the radiation dose is given via a source implanted within the body.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is a more targeted form of treatment than 3D conformal radiation therapy. It improves the radiation dose delivered to the cancerous areas whilst reducing the radiation dose to adjacent healthy tissues.

Surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT) – tattoo-free radiation therapy 

SGRT uses sophisticated 3D camera technology to help your radiation therapy care team to position you for treatment more accurately each day, without the need for permanent tattoos. The technology also monitors any unintended movements you might make during the treatment, and will pause the radiation until you are back in the correct position.

Deep inspiration breath hold

We use SGRT for deep inspiration breath hold – a breathing technique used during left-sided breast cancer treatment to help minimize exposing your heart to radiation during treatment. At GenesisCare, we use AlignRT®, the premier surface-guidance radiation therapy system, to monitor the position of your chest during treatment. During each treatment, you control your breathing pattern and the treatment is delivered when you are in a deep inspiration, when your heart is further away from the radiation beam.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI)

APBI is a radiation therapy for some early stage breast cancer patients that treats a smaller portion of your breast tissue than other radiation techniques. This preserves more of your healthy breast tissue from damage and reduces your treatment from six weeks to just one to five days.

Chapter 4

Medical oncology

At GenesisCare, we offer various drug therapies and a wide range of the latest anti-cancer drugs for breast cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that destroy cancer cells. It may be used as a breast cancer treatment before or after surgery, and usually takes between three and six months to complete a course. Our expert teams may recommend chemotherapy before or after other treatments, or on its own. The type of chemotherapy you’ll receive will also depend on your breast cancer stage, grade and the genetic make up of your cancer.

Hormone therapy

Many breast tumors need a hormone called estrogen to continue to grow. Hormone therapy for breast cancer works by blocking estrogen from binding to the cancer cells, or preventing your body from producing estrogen, which slows down their growth.

Targeted therapy

We use targeted therapy to seek and attack cellular activity that the cancer depends on to survive and grow. You may be recommended targeted therapy that interferes with certain proteins on the surface of breast cancer cells that help the tumor to grow. Blocking these proteins from working correctly can slow or stop your tumor’s growth.

Chapter 5

Why choose GenesisCare?

People choose GenesisCare so they can access the latest technologies, effective treatments and personalized care that’s tailored to them without delay.

Cancer treatment and care is constantly evolving and we offer the world’s latest evidence-based treatments that have been shown to benefit patients. By working together closely, our multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and other healthcare specialists provide care that’s focused on you, not just your cancer.

We know that for many people, cancer is a life-changing experience and our goal is to help you through it in the most positive way possible. That’s why as well as offering exceptional cancer treatments, we also provide you with support and resources for your cancer journey—including advice about nutrition and exercise, expert help for managing side effects and information on local support groups.

Designing better care

Our centers are conveniently located throughout the United States, and each location has a dedicated Office Financial Counselor on hand to help you with your paperwork and answer your questions. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, including radiation therapy.