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Breast Cancer Care

A breast cancer diagnosis can change your life. There’s the reaction to the diagnosis, quickly followed by more tests, a treatment plan, then the ups and downs of treatment. Things happen fast because cancer is most treatable when we catch it early. We know the sudden changes can feel overwhelming. PeaceHealth offers advanced breast cancer care close to home, plus many related services to support you and your family. 

Caring for you, not just your cancer

PeaceHealth cancer care is fully integrated. This means your breast cancer specialists work together. They’re all part of one team devoted to your health and well-being.

Breast cancer care teams often include:

  • Surgeons (surgical oncologists and reconstructive surgeons)
  • Cancer doctors (oncologists)
  • Radiation specialists (radiation oncologists)
  • Nurses who specialize in cancer
  • Physical therapists
  • Cancer social workers
  • Other specialists depending on your needs

As you move through treatment, your team will communicate regularly with each other, and with you, to plan for the best possible care.

What does my breast cancer diagnosis mean?

A diagnosis of breast cancer means that cancer cells have been found in your breast tissue. Breast cancer happens when some of the cells in your breast grow without stopping. These fast-growing cells eventually form a tumor.

Breast cancer is common, with about 300,000 new cases a year in the United States. Each person’s experience is different. The good news is that when it’s caught and treated early, outcomes improve.

After diagnosis, the next step is to learn more about your cancer so we can create a personalized treatment plan. You and your doctor might decide to do more screenings, scans or a biopsy (sample) to get more information. These diagnostic tests can help you understand your cancer type and stage (severity).

What’s included in a breast cancer treatment plan?

There are many breast cancer treatments available, so it’s important to pick the right ones for your situation.

Once we know more about your cancer, we can work together to make a care plan. Your plan will outline treatment choices and a timeline recommended for you. To create your plan, you and your PeaceHealth care team will consider things like:

  • Cancer type (There are different kinds of breast cancer.)
  • Cancer stage (How much has the cancer grown and spread?)
  • Cancer location (Where is the tumor? Is there more than one?)
  • General health (How are you feeling? What types of treatment can you tolerate?)
  • Personal and family preferences (What are your beliefs and needs?)

Most plans include more than one kind of treatment. Surgery, chemotherapy, hormone treatment and radiation therapy are common with breast cancer.

What to expect at PeaceHealth

As you begin treatment, our medical experts and advanced technologies focus on stopping the cancer. You’ll have access to the latest breast cancer treatments available. At the same time, we never forget about the person at the center of it all: you.

  • Surgery: Your doctor may recommend an operation to remove breast cancer cells/tumors. If you choose surgery, PeaceHealth’s skilled surgeons will use advanced tools to make your surgery more precise and less invasive.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment uses powerful medicines to damage cancer cells, shrinking tumors and slowing cancer’s growth. Chemotherapy is often combined with other treatments. There are more than 100 types of chemo medications to choose from, depending on your needs.
  • Radiation therapy: Beams of energy (radiation) are aimed at cancer cells. PeaceHealth uses radiation technology like intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery to target and destroy cancer cells while avoiding healthy tissue. This can mean fewer treatments and faster recovery.
  • Hormone therapy: Special hormones are used to stop or slow breast cancer’s growth. They also may lower the chances of cancer coming back or spreading.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts your body’s natural defenses against cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Your PeaceHealth provider will let you know if there’s a clinical trial or research study that’s right for you. If there is, you may be able to access newer treatments for your type of breast cancer.

Your care includes more than doctor's appointments and medical treatments, too. You’ll find:

  • Passionate providers you will get to know and trust.
  • Shared decision-making, so you and your family can get your needs met.
  • Cancer centers close to where you live, so you don’t have to go far for great care. 

Why choose PeaceHealth

We see you as a complex person, not simply somebody with breast cancer. PeaceHealth offers:

  • Whole-person care: Our approach to breast cancer care goes beyond medical treatments. If you need a social worker, family counseling, nutrition advice, financial aid or spiritual guidance, you’ll find many skilled, compassionate caregivers ready to help. 
  • Nurse navigators: In addition to doctors, your care team includes a nurse navigator to answer questions, help with scheduling and be your advocate throughout your treatment.
  • Integrated services: PeaceHealth gives you access to services that make life a little easier during cancer treatment. This includes complementary care such as yoga, nutrition classes, support groups, advanced care planning and survivorship classes. We also have a wig and hat bank to help you manage hair loss, a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
  • Continuing care: Breast cancer care doesn’t end when your treatments are done. You may choose to do rehab, physical therapy or reconstructive surgery as part of your continuing care. Regular cancer screenings are important, too. Our breast centers offer 3D mammography for more detailed imaging.

Next steps

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you suddenly have a lot to consider. 

Now is a time you might want extra support from friends, family — and healthcare professionals.

To learn more, contact a cancer center near you, research PeaceHealth cancer specialists or visit our health information library for breast cancer information and resources. 

All Breast Cancer Care Locations