October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, about 1 of 8 women in the United States is unfortunately expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Throughout October, members of the Rochester Regional Health Breast Care team will provide information in our monthly Q&A series to help you take a few important steps that can significantly improve your odds of enjoying a lifetime of good health.
Robin Reid, MD
Rochester Regional Health
Q: What types of treatments are there?
A: If you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, don’t panic. With today’s state-of-the art treatments, there’s an excellent chance of surviving the disease. Once diagnosed, be sure to quickly seek out treatment with a team of compassionate, knowledgeable caregivers that you trust.
There are several ways to treat breast cancer, depending on its type and stage. Some of the more common treatments include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. It is not uncommon to get more than one type of treatment.
It is important to discuss your treatment options with your treatment team. When discussing these options, be sure and ask about the goal of a particular treatment and any possible side effects. Discussing this with your doctor will help you make the decision that best fits your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when your doctor discusses treatment options with you. Some questions you might want to ask include:
- What are my treatment choices?
- What treatment do you recommend and why?
- What would the goal of the treatment be?
- How soon do I need to start treatment?
- How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
- Will any of the treatment be done by other doctors?
- What should I do to get ready for treatment?
- Should I change what I eat or make other lifestyle changes?
- How will treatment affect my daily activities?
- Will I be able to work during treatment?
- Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?
- Will I go through menopause as a result of the treatment? Will I be able to have children after treatment? Would I be able to breastfeed?
- What are the chances the cancer will come back after this treatment?
- What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
Don’t be afraid to take notes and tell the doctors or nurses when you don’t understand what they’re saying.
The Rochester General Health Breast Center is one of the highest volume breast centers in New York State and is a Center of Excellence in cancer care. Our goals are to: Provide patient focused state-of-the-art comprehensive and coordinated multidisciplinary care in a compassionate and supportive environment, maintain excellence through supporting oncology clinical research, and serve as a community resource for referring and treating physicians as well as patients and their families. For more information, visit our website.