The Methodist Breast Center is an active participant in clinical trials of new treatments for breast cancer. Participation in clinical trials can be a valuable way for patients to benefit from the latest innovations and discoveries; physicians at the Methodist Breast Center work actively to match our patients with available trials at The Methodist Hospital and throughout the Texas Medical Center.
A diagnosis of breast cancer is a frightening moment. But the Methodist Breast Center offers a complete range of the most advanced treatment options available, all provided in an atmosphere of warmth, compassion and caring.
Receiving your diagnosis is the beginning of a new journey. You will meet with your doctors to discuss the details of your cancer and to develop a treatment plan that balances your condition with your lifestyle and your preferences. At every step in this process, you will be encouraged to ask questions — the doctors, nurses and staff of the Methodist Breast Center are always available to help provide clarification, advice or just a helpful ear.
In some cases, surgery may be a part of your treatment plan. It is used to remove cancerous tissue from the breast and breast area. In some cases, your surgical plan might include the removal of lymph nodes from the breast region and the underarm area, as cancerous cells may gather in these nodes.
Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancerous cells in specific areas. In radiation therapy, radiologists and other doctors precisely calculate the amount of radiation used and the locations where it will be employed — making sure that patients are not exposed to any unnecessary or dangerous radiation levels. In general, radiation therapy has few side effects.
Watch a segment from "Leading Medicine" on breast cancer treatment.
Many different types of radiation can be employed, depending on the size and location of the cancerous growth. In some cases, a relatively large area might be exposed to radiation; in other cases, advanced technologies such as stereotactic radio surgery (SRS) may be used. This technology allows doctors to focus a fine beam of powerful radiation on a specific treatment site, minimizing the amount of radiation that reaches healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy is a general term for the use of medications to treat cancer. The Methodist Breast Center offers a complete spectrum of chemotherapy medications, including today's most advanced forms. Many of them have few troublesome side effects, helping to make the process of receiving chemotherapy easier than it once was.
If chemotherapy is part of your treatment plan, your care team will discuss the medications, any side effects, and the way in which you will take the medication — some chemotherapy is delivered in pill form; other chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously.
A welcome advance in breast cancer research is targeted therapy, which uses medications developed to target specific cellular problems that cause or advance cancer growth, such as certain proteins, or new blood vessel growth in tumors. In addition, targeted therapy medications have a minimal effect upon other cells in the body, leading to fewer side effects. They are most effective when combined with other treatments, including a chemotherapy regimen. Like chemotherapy, these drugs may be in pill form, or be given to you intravenously at your doctor's office.
Since estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones produced by the ovaries, can promote the development or return of most breast cancer, your treatment plan may include hormone therapy. This involves taking one or more medications daily to either prevent these hormones from affecting the body as they normally would, or to stop the ovaries from producing those hormones altogether. Your doctor will work with you to find the therapy combination which will be the most effective for you while minimizing uncomfortable side effects.
In the wake of breast cancer surgery, some women opt to have breast reconstructive surgery. Methodist Breast Center can help connect patients to reconstructive surgeons at The Methodist Hospital and will work to coordinate your cancer treatment with the reconstructive procedure.