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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer holds a special position among women’s cancer, as the most common and best known of female cancers. It takes far too many lives each year, and Lourdes has dedicated a variety of resources to battle this disease.

Lourdes offers complete care for breast cancer, steadily expanding its resources in recent years, including in such areas as breast imaging and breast surgery.
Prevention, Screening, Diagnosis

Lourdes physicians work with women to advise on healthy lifestyle decisions and to assess each patient’s risk for breast cancer, based on family history and other factors. Screening through physical examination and self-examination plays an important role.

Mammography, done according to accepted guidelines and adjusted in some cases to individual risk, serves as the primary diagnostic tool for breast cancer—one aimed at early detection. Like many cancers and other diseases, breast cancer is most readily and successfully addressed if discovered early. For these reasons, Lourdes has placed great emphasis on high-quality breast imaging and helping each woman maintain a schedule of breast x-rays that is appropriate for her.

Breast imaging also takes advantage of ultrasound and MR imaging, and helps to direct biopsy of abnormalities in the breast. Such steps provide essential guidance for treatment decisions and to the Lourdes’ cancer subspecialists who deliver these treatments.

Breast Cancer Treatment

As with many cancers, breast cancer treatment relies on three primary types of intervention: surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Lourdes experts in these areas work in close coordination with one another to identify and sequence the right care steps for each individual breast cancer patient.

Breast surgeons often lead and coordinate breast cancer care. At Lourdes, patients and their families conference closely with the breast surgeon in deciding on a course of care. The cancer team maps out options and identifies pre- and post-operative modalities of cancer care that will complement surgery.
  • Surgery. Training and experience of the surgical team play an important role in the value of surgical care for breast cancer, and Lourdes breast surgeons have a depth of knowledge and success in their field. Patients and their families can feel confidence that they have access to all options in breast-cancer surgery with the Lourdes service, including sentinel node biopsy, lumpectomy, and partial or complete mastectomy. Lourdes breast surgeons also provide skillful reconstructive surgery as a follow-up phase of surgical care for patients who need this additional step.
  • Radiation oncology. Radiation therapy often serves as an important component of the cancer team’s effort to kill breast cancer cells, and it may be used before, during, or after surgery. Precisely targeted, carefully timed, and delivered incrementally, radiation can help to eradicate breast cancer cells, which are especially sensitive to certain types of particle or radiant energy compared to normal tissue.
  • Medical oncology Chemotherapeutic treatment plays an important part in many cases of breast cancer, likewise helping to kill cancer cells in or around the location from which a breast tumor has been removed and at other sites, as it treats the body as whole. This form of treatment often follows initial surgery or may be a recourse in cases of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.

Lourdes cancer experts work as a coordinated team, conferring as a group on all cases including for each breast cancer patient. Every woman who comes to Lourdes for breast cancer can be assured of a highly organized course of care and special attention to communication, involving all members of the care team, the patient and family and referring and primary healthcare providers.

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