Make the Right Move
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
What to do after a breast cancer diagnosis
A breast cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event and is accompanied by concerns, questions and choices to make. Women often feel overwhelmed and ask, “What do I do now?”
“If the cancer hasn’t spread beyond the breast, see a breast surgeon,” says David Gorski, M.D., Ph.D., leader of the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center. “Whenever possible, see a specialist. Karmanos has some of the finest surgeons, clinicians and oncologists you’ll find anywhere in the world, as well as cutting-edge clinical trials.”
Patients always want to know if they’ll need surgery or chemotherapy. Dr. Gorski says it depends in part on the nature of the tumor.
“If the tumor hasn’t spread to other organs, surgery is usually the first treatment,” he says. “If a woman has a large tumor, chemotherapy may shrink it to the point where we can save the breast by performing a lumpectomy. Many patients will need both surgery and chemotherapy. Many will also have radiation therapy. Surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists will collaborate to recommend the best course of treatment. This process is part of our multidisciplinary team approach to patient care at Karmanos.”
While breast cancer can be frightening, Dr. Gorski says it’s important to remain calm.
“Breast cancer is one of the more treatable cancers, especially when it’s caught early,” he says. “The patient will almost always have time to get a second opinion and take orderly steps to make a treatment decision.”
For more information about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or visit www.karmanos.org.