Breast Cancer Treatment
The latest treatments for breast cancer built around your needs.
If you have breast cancer you may have questions and concerns about your treatment options. You may also want to know how you’ll feel and function after treatment, and if you’ll have to change your normal activities.
Your healthcare provider from Legacy Cancer Institute is the best person to answer your questions. They can tell you what your treatment choices are, how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and side effects are. Your healthcare provider may advise a specific treatment, or offer more than one and ask you to decide which you’d like to use. It can be hard to make this decision. It is important to take the time you need to make the best decision for you.
There are two main kinds of treatment for breast cancer:
- Local treatments. These remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in one area of the body. Surgery and radiation are local treatments.
- Systemic treatments. These destroy or control cancer cells throughout the whole body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments.
Treatments are often used together, most often with some type of breast surgery. Your breast cancer treatment plan is also determined by:
- The type of tumor
- The location of the tumor
- The extent of the disease, called the stage
- Any tests you have had during diagnosis
- A discussion about what is right for you
Your breast cancer team
You are in good hands with Legacy Cancer Institute. The breast cancer team includes some of the Portland region’s most recognized specialists. Learn more about our breast cancer care team.
Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you. A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards, to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.
Legacy Cancer Institute is accredited as an integrated network cancer program by the American College of surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Learn more about our quality cancer care.
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Breast cancer treatment options
Treating breast cancer requires a variety of specialists working together for your unique treatment plan. Legacy offers the latest proven treatment options for breast cancer, including minimally invasive techniques. A treatment plan for breast cancer can include a variety of therapies:
Surgery: Surgery is done to remove the tumor from your breast. Surgery is the most common way to treat breast cancer. Our nationally recognized surgeons use advanced surgical techniques and provide several surgery options, including breast-sparing surgery, mastectomy and mastectomy with reconstruction. Legacy Health knows precision is vital to success and our surgical oncologists use a new radar localization tool to aid surgeons in accurately locating the affected tissue with minimal invasion. The radar localization system uses a zero-radiation and wire-free solution that can precisely target the affected tissue to within 1 mm of accuracy. Using radar can mean more successful surgeries, optimized breast conservation strategies and enhanced outcomes for women.
Breast reconstruction: Our breast surgeons perform procedures to rebuild a total breast after mastectomy. Learn about breast reconstruction
Radiation uses high-energy X-rays or other radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation can be one of two types:
External radiation uses a machine outside the body and aims radiation toward the cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy.
Brachytherapy uses a radioactive material placed in the body, directly in contact with the tumor, so healthy tissues have less exposure to radiation. Legacy’s technologically advanced brachytherapy program is the largest and most experienced in the region. Learn about brachytherapy
Chemotherapy: Also called “chemo,” this therapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Some chemotherapy drugs reach cells throughout the body while others are inserted directly into the affected area. Learn more about chemotherapy.
Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the body’s own immune system to help it recognize and attack cancer cells (also called biologic therapy). In immunotherapy, substances from the body or made in a lab are used to trigger an immune response. They boost, restore or direct your own natural defense against cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy.
Targeted therapy: Different than traditional chemotherapy, this treatment can help stop cancer from growing and spreading by targeting specific genes or proteins. Learn more about targeted therapy.
Hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of cancer by blocking or interfering with hormones, which are chemical messengers that control bodily functions like the reproductive system. Hormone therapy can be given as a pill or injection. A surgeon may also remove organs that produce hormones. Learn more about hormone therapy.
Cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses freezing temperatures to destroy tumors. As an alternative to open surgery, cryoablation is safe, painless and patients can usually return to work or normal activities right away. Learn more about cryoablation.
Talk to your doctor about these and other options for treating breast cancer. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care.
Treating breast cancer if it spreads
What happens after treatment
To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. The tests can also determine if cancer has returned.
Whenever possible, we work to stop cancer. But when we can’t, we can often control it for a better quality of life, often called palliative care.
You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society: Breast cancer screening, genetic testing, treatment and survival (videos)
American Cancer Society: Breast reconstruction surgery
Oncolink breast cancer basics
Medline Plus: Male breast cancer
Breast friends: Support and inspiration
Living beyond Breast Cancer