Our team of oncologists, breast surgeons, pathologists and other breast cancer specialists will give a thorough evaluation and devise a treatment plan based on the size of your tumor, its location and the type of cancer. Our physicians may also determine if you are eligible to receive experimental treatments through clinical trials conducted at Jefferson on an ongoing basis.
Our specially trained nurse breast care coordinator will assist you through every step of your treatment to ensure you receive the support, information and resources you need. The coordinator will help handle the logistics of your care and address any concerns you may have with your medical and support team.
There are many advantages to having your breast cancer treated at Philadelphia's Jefferson Hospital:
- We tailor your treatment to your specific condition
Every staff member of our Breast Care Center approaches breast cancer care with the knowledge that you have a unique set of requirements and tailors a program of care to meet your unique needs.
- Comprehensive breast services
Our Breast Cancer Center offers a comprehensive approach to breast care to provide the highest levels of convenience, meaning all of your screenings, testing and treatments are done within the Center. This approach also involves a continuity of care, meaning that our radiologists, lab technicians, oncologists, nurses, surgeons and other specialists know you and know where you are in your treatment. There are no lost records or unnecessary phone calls tracking down results, reducing the stress of managing your care. Our services include the most advanced imaging and screening techniques to hereditary counseling to plastic surgery and follow-up care.
- Breast care coordinator
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you will have a breast care coordinator who will assist you during this difficult time. The coordinator provides you with:
- Assistance in scheduling specialist appointments
- Answers to your questions about your treatment plan
- Referrals to and information about hospital-based and community support groups and services
- Access to information including publications, books, videos and web sites on a variety of topics related to breast health and breast cancer
- Resourceful information about wigs, prostheses, classes and support groups
- Assistance in communicating your concerns to your healthcare team and family
Additionally, if you require surgery, the expert breast and plastic surgeons at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson will discuss your options with you. These may include:
- Lumpectomy – Unlike a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast, a lumpectomy entails the removal of cancerous tissue while sparing the rest of the breast. When combined with radiation therapy following surgery, a lumpectomy may be as effective as a mastectomy if performed by experienced, highly skilled surgeons, such as those you will find at Jefferson. Jefferson was also one of the U.S. hospitals to develop standard radiation dosages for the best therapeutic and cosmetic results following lumpectomy surgery.
- Mastectomy – If it's determined that breast conservation is not an option, or if you choose a mastectomy, the skilled plastic surgeons at Jefferson may be able to provide immediate breast reconstruction. Our surgeons are experienced in performing many different reconstruction procedures, including an innovative technique that uses an implant filled with tissue transferred from the back, belly or buttocks. Through this procedure, called latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction, surgeons are able to take tissue from the back to maintain the new breast's shape until a permanent implant can be put in.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy – The sentinel lymph node is believed to be the first lymph node to which breast cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor. Therefore, if the sentinel node is free of cancer, it is likely there is no cancer in the other lymph nodes. This can help avoid the removal of additional lymph nodes through a full, axillary lymph node dissection.
Radiation oncologists at Jefferson have developed several new cancer treatments and have helped pioneer the use of advanced radiation therapies that precisely target cancerous tumors while minimizing the effects on surrounding health tissue. Radiation therapy methods available for breast cancer include:
- Active Breathing Coordinator, a breathing technique that helps spare lung, heart and liver tissue from adverse effects of radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer in the left breast. Specifically, it is designed to help patients who may have trouble breathing hold their breath in a consistent manner while receiving radiation.
- Brachytherapy, a procedure that involves implanting tiny radioactive seeds at the site of the tumor, which, compared with external radiation therapy, allows for a higher dose of radiation to be safely administered
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which involves the delivery of a large dose of radiation directly to a tumor exposed through surgery
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which delivers radiation doses that precisely fit the 3-D shape of a tumor. It also tightly regulates the intensity of the radiation to more closely target tumors and spare surrounding tissue.
Jefferson physicians are also experienced in treating breast cancer through chemotherapy and hormone therapy, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments depending on the nature and progression of your cancer. Your medical team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for you.