After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
If your diagnostic tests and breast biopsy indicate breast cancer, you’ll need a referral to a cancer specialist at AnMed. You’ll want to know your cancer stage as soon as possible. Waiting is hard, but your doctors may not know the stage of your breast cancer until you have surgery and your pathology (lab) reports are complete.
Your Breast Cancer Care Team
Lean on your kind, compassionate breast cancer care team, including your patient navigator, for support throughout your journey. Patient navigators—specially trained registered nurses—will pair with you and your family after your breast biopsy. They provide education, encouragement and access to many supportive services at AnMed.
Expect a welcoming experience at your first appointment with one of our cancer specialists. You’ll have a breast exam and in-depth discussion about surgical treatment options. You’re encouraged to ask questions and reach out for guidance whenever you need it.
We’ll recommend a personalized treatment plan based on your breast cancer's current stage and other factors. Your doctors may combine multiple types of treatment to give you a better result. Rest assured, your AnMed team will use every resource available to provide you with outstanding medical care.
Depending on your breast cancer stage, surgery may be your first treatment. The most common types of breast cancer surgery are:
- Lumpectomy (partial mastectomy) – Removes a cancerous tumor while leaving as much normal breast tissue as possible
- Mastectomy – Removes one or both breasts as a treatment or preventive measure
If your cancer is growing quickly, you may need other types of treatment before surgery.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. For breast cancer, chemotherapy can be a:
- Primary treatment
- Supplemental treatment along with another type of treatment, such as immunotherapy or radiation therapy
- Tumor-shrinking treatment before surgery
Targeted therapy uses drugs tailored to your specific cancer. For example, your doctor may recommend targeted therapy if an abnormal protein stimulates your breast cancer cells to grow. This treatment is usually given in combination with other treatments.
Hormone therapy uses oral medications to starve breast tumors of the hormones they need to grow. You may need hormone therapy after a mastectomy or other procedure. You may continue hormone therapy for five to 10 years after completing other treatment.
Radiation therapy uses radiation waves to kill cancerous cells with precision. Your doctors may use radiation to shrink a tumor before surgery and destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Count on your care team to help you manage the side effects of breast cancer treatments. Swelling and other lymphedema symptoms are common after your surgeon removes lymph nodes or you receive radiation therapy. A certified therapist at AnMed Therapy - Lymphedema can help reduce swelling using specialized techniques.
Take advantage of all the services, assistance and resources available at AnMed during your breast cancer journey. You’ll get care for your mind, body and spirit through our comprehensive support services.
The AnMed Cancer Resource Center and local and virtual support groups allow you to learn from and talk to others with breast cancer.
Prosthesis & Fitting Services
Visit the Impressions Appearance Shoppe for mastectomy prosthesis fittings and other services to help you look and feel your best during cancer care.
When you reach remission, we’ll help you get the follow-up care and mammograms you need to stay in control of your health. If you experience new breast cancer symptoms, such as a lump, changes to breast skin or nipple discharge, see your doctor right away.
Learn about breast cancer clinical trials at AnMed.