Sierra Nevada Cancer Center Helps Women with Breast Cancer

It is estimated that in the year 2015, about 40,290 wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and sisters will die from breast cancer.

However, according to the American Cancer Society, there are currently more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

We like that number.

Yes, breast cancer can be deadly. But the big picture reveals: Many, MANY survive. And we at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center are here to help.

Breast cancer is comprised of malignant cells that start in the cells of the breast and can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.

At Sierra Nevada Cancer, we believe in fighting alongside our patients when treating breast cancer. We strive to educate patients about breast cancer and the treatment options that are best for them.

Early detection is vital for any kind of cancer; specific to breast cancer, the following are the American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms:

* Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
* Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional every year.
* Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
* Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.

Treatment Options

So if breast cancer is detected, how can it be treated?

There are numerous ways to treat breast cancer, and the type of treatment recommended will always take stage of the disease, lifestyle and personal patient histories into consideration.

Patients at SNCC experience one-on-one counseling, complete education about options and consultation about side effects, expected outcomes and considerations for each choice.

Primarily, however, these are the main types of treatment for breast cancer:
* Surgery
* Breast-conserving surgery: where only the part of the breast containing the cancer is removed.
* Mastectomy: surgery that removes the entire breast, including breast tissue and other nearby tissues.
* Radiation therapy
* External beam radiation: radiation applied from a machine outside the body on the area affected by the cancer.
* Brachytherapy: known as internal radiation, radioactive seeds or pellets are placed into a device in the breast tissue in the area where the cancer was identified.
* Chemotherapy: cancer-killing drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into a vein) or by mouth.
* Hormone therapy: most often used to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery, but also used to treat cancer that has come back after treatment or has spread.
* Targeted therapy: drugs that target the HER2/neu protein. A number of drugs have been developed that target this protein:
* Trastuzumab (Herceptin)
* Pertuzumab (Perjeta®)
* Ado-trastuzumabemtansine (Kadcyla™)
* Lapatinib (Tykerb)
* Bone-directed therapy: drugs like bisphosphonates and denosumab are used when cancer spreads to bones, to lower the risks of pain, fractures and other problems.

Our next post (article) will focus on the importance of personal Cancer Care, risk factors for breast cancer and preventive measures.

In the meantime, if you or someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, Sierra Nevada Cancer facilities are specifically designed to make Cancer Treatments relaxing and comfortable, allowing us to aid you in your battle against cancer.

For more information about breast cancer, click here.

A diagnosis of bone cancer can be devastating for a patient and difficult to treat for many doctors. Watch as two bone cancer patients – one a teenager – entrust Michigan’s most comprehensive ortho-oncology team to avoid amputation and save their lives.

About the Josephine Ford Cancer Center

A diagnosis of cancer is one of the most frightening diagnoses a patient can receive. At the Josephine Ford Cancer Center in Michigan, patients will find compassion and ongoing support from experienced cancer specialists. We have one of the largest cancer centers in Michigan with more than 14,000 cancer patients treated each year at Henry Ford. Our cancer doctors specialize in the most complex types of cancer and offer what every patient and family needs: personalized care, rapid diagnosis, and expert treatment of any type of cancer.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is a Michigan not-for-profit corporation governed by a 22-member Board of Trustees. Advisory and affiliate boards comprising 129 Trustee volunteer leaders provide vital links to the communities served by the System. HFHS is managed by Chief Executive Officer Nancy M. Schlichting.

HFHS is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems. It provides health insurance and health care delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. For more information, visit

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