Breast cancer is an extremely common type of cancer. Current estimates show that most women in the US have a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer at some point. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer in Boston, there is a journey towards recovery. The fight against breast cancer can be physically and emotionally taxing. We support you through every step of that journey, ensuring you’re never alone in your fight.

There are various treatment options for breast cancer — surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy. Breast cancer treatment generally includes a combination of these treatment options. We recommend the least invasive yet most effective procedures to help you maintain your quality of life after the procedure while minimizing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Below, we provide an overview of your options for breast cancer treatment in Boston.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast cancer surgery is the most common treatment option for the removal of tumors and the surrounding tissues. We provide tissue-preserving surgeries with precision techniques that allow you to preserve as much of your breast tissues as safely possible. Our surgeons use hidden scar techniques to minimize the visibility of scars, ensuring optimal results. Furthermore, our surgeons use advanced, ultrasound-guided techniques for precision.

Lymph node removal: Lymph node removal is generally performed in addition to other breast cancer surgeries, such as lumpectomy and mastectomy. This procedure allows surgeons to remove and examine surrounding lymph nodes to determine how far breast cancer has spread. It’s crucial that the surgeons identify and remove breast cancer cells and tumors from all possible areas to minimize the risk of recurrence after your breast cancer treatment in Massachusetts.

Your surgeon may use one of the following procedures for lymph node removal:

  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy: This involves removing some of the first draining lymph nodes under the arms to determine if breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Axillary Lymph Node Dissection: This involves removing and examining the level I and II nodes closer to the breasts.

Lumpectomy: A lumpectomy, also known as a partial mastectomy, is a breast-conserving surgery because it only removes the tumor and some of the surrounding tissues. This procedure allows you to retain your breasts. However, you can only opt for lumpectomy at the initial stages of breast cancer and if cancer hasn’t spread far beyond the point of origin. You will also need radiation therapy after this procedure to kill all remaining cancer cells.

Mastectomy: Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the entire breast. This procedure is recommended for women with large tumors or advanced breast cancer that’s spread considerably. You may also need a double mastectomy if breast cancer has spread to both breasts. Your surgeon may recommend skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomies to help you achieve an “untouched” appearance after breast reconstruction if you so choose.

Breast Reconstruction: If you’re undergoing a mastectomy, your surgeon will also discuss your breast reconstruction options. You can undergo reconstructive surgery with implants or natural tissues to restore the appearance of natural breasts. However, the decision of whether to undergo reconstructive surgery rests entirely on you and your doctor’s recommendation. Many women avoid breast reconstruction, also known as “going flat” — both options are valid.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy might be provided in addition to breast cancer surgery. It involves a combination of oral and intravenous medications to stop or prevent the cancer cells from growing. This is also known as systemic therapy because it affects your entire body. Chemotherapy is the recommended treatment for most pre-menopausal and some post-menopausal women. Please discuss your chemotherapy options with your breast cancer specialist.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, involves using high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in specific and targeted parts of the body. You may receive radiotherapy in addition to lumpectomy or mastectomy to kill all remaining cancer cells in the breast or axillary area. Most patients undergo radiotherapy five days a week for around six weeks. Radiotherapy significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Hormone Therapy

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are necessary for the human body — they regulate most of the body’s functions, including menstruation. However, in some cases, breast cancer cells feed on these hormones to stimulate their growth. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy if your breast cancer cells are found to have these hormone receptors. Hormone therapy involves blockers/ inhibitors that prevent the cancer cells from growing by cutting off their supply of estrogen and progesterone as an effective breast cancer treatment Boston patients can benefit from.

Targeted Therapy

Your doctor may recommend targeted therapy in addition to chemotherapy and hormone therapy. This is a fairly new treatment protocol that involves using highly targeted drugs to destroy specific breast cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Targeted therapy produces fewer side effects than chemotherapy, but it’s usually performed in combination with traditional chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Please discuss your targeted therapy options with your breast cancer specialist.

Your Treatment Options in Wellesley, MA

New England Breast and Wellness is a medical center dedicated to breast cancer care and wellness in Wellesley, MA. Our medical team is led by Dr. Katherina Calvillo, a breast cancer specialist with 16+ years of experience at Harvard. She collaborates with the country’s leading Harvard-affiliated doctors and hospitals to diagnose breast cancer and curate the appropriate treatment plan. We understand that this might be a challenging time for you, both physically and emotionally, so we provide ongoing support through every stage of your journey. Contact us at New England Breast And Wellness to find you your options for Breast Cancer treatment in Massachusetts.

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