More than 20 practitioners from multiple disciplines came together to ensure that our patients have access to this comprehensive level of breast care, in one convenient location. Patients are guided along their journey and getting the care they need, when they need it.Harrison E.G. Burman, MD, surgeon and Medical Director of Cheshire’s Breast Care Center
The Breast Care Center team members work in a variety of areas across our medical center and play different parts in your care. Your team may include a surgeon, radiologist, geneticist, social worker, financial counselor, nutritionist, or physical therapist. They work together to provide individualized care plans tailored specifically for your diagnosis.
There are many types of benign breast conditions and types of breast cancer. You and your doctor discuss the best course of treatment for your condition, what you can expect for results, and what you may experience as side effects. Your personalized plan of care may change along your journey, depending on your needs and response to treatment.
Making informed decisions together
Your team provides educational materials and support to prepare you for provider consults and to help you make informed treatment decisions. You and your family meet with the surgeon and medical and radiation oncologists throughout treatment. Together, we discuss an ongoing plan of care based on your needs, concerns, and response to treatment.
Most patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer undergo some form of surgical procedure. Your surgeon discusses all surgical treatments with you in detail.
Your medical oncologist may recommend chemotherapy before or after surgery. Chemotherapy is a therapy that uses a range of medications for specific outcomes, such as:
- Killing cancer cells
- Reducing symptoms
- Minimizing the chance that cancer comes back
Certain medications are considered the standard of care for breast cancer; however, Dartmouth Cancer Center clinical trials may be available for interested patients who meet certain criteria. Your medical oncologist discusses your treatment options and plan of care.
Some types of breast cancer are fed by hormones in your body. Hormone therapy is a pill or injection that reduces estrogen levels in the body or blocks the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells. This is a common therapy used after surgery and sometimes after chemotherapy. Hormone therapy significantly reduces the chance of breast cancer recurrence. Your medical oncologist considers the need for hormone therapy based on the analysis of your tumor cells.
Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be effective in destroying the DNA of the cancer cells and preventing the return of cancer. Radiation therapy may be recommended before or following breast surgery. Our radiation oncologists are experienced in advanced radiation treatments for breast cancer and plan your treatment schedule and follow your progress. Radiation is typically given once a day (five days a week) for four to six weeks.
Physical and occupational therapists are movement specialists that may help prepare you for surgery. They may also work with you after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatments. They help your recovery and overall health by combining education, exercises, and hands-on care. Our therapists are specially trained to work with cancer patients to reduce side effects from treatment and aid your recovery.
Physical therapists routinely meet with post-mastectomy patients to evaluate for signs of lymphedema, which is swelling that can occur when lymph nodes are surgically removed. They monitor patients for early signs of swelling and discomfort and formulate a treatment plan to manage this condition.
Going the extra mile
Personalized care extends beyond cancer treatment. Our breast care coordinator helps you navigate your care and serves as a resource. She can help you access the care you need by managing barriers to care, such as:
- An issue that requires counseling services
- Lack of transportation to medical appointments
- Language interpretation or accessibility needs
- The need for post-treatment physical and occupational therapy
If there is anything preventing you from following your care plan, please contact us.