Finding the best treatment for you?


Question from Honey: How do you yourself know this is the best treatment available, and why are there different kinds of treatment?
Answers - Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. It's important for each of us to feel confident in the decision making made about the treatment that will be best for us. The best way to ensure that is by doing your homework and making sure that the members of the health care team taking care of you are specialists in breast cancer who diagnose and treat a large volume of women with this disease. You can also do your own research via the internet, taking a look at web sites such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network at www.nccn.org and www.breastcancer.org, both of which provide guidelines related to breast cancer treatment. Regarding the variance in treatment protocols, treatment is based on the stage of the disease, the age of the patient at time of diagnosis, other medical conditions that she may have or have had in the past, as well as key prognostic factors based on pathology results. Combining all of that information gives health care professionals an ability to develop a treatment plan that will best suit you to give you, we hope, a long survival.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Sometimes there is more than one 'right way' to go. One of the advances in the care of women with breast cancer is that in a number of situations, you may be given a choice between various options that may be equally effective.
Gwen Darien Can either of you talk a little bit about what kind of factors are used in making these choices?
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It's very important to first take the time to 'get to know' your particular cancer and other health concerns. For example, when we get to know a cancer, we want to know all of its personality features including its size, lymph node involvement, the presence or absence of hormone receptors and specific cancer genes, its growth rate, and its involvement with blood vessels, as examples. With all of this information, taken together with your style of making decisions, your other health concerns, and practical issues, you and your doctors can arrive at the best treatment plan for you.

On Wednesday, June 20, 2001, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Tackling Fear. Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S.,Marisa Weiss, M.D. and moderator Gwen Darien, Editor-in-Chief, MAMM Magazine, answered your questions about how to manage breast cancer fears.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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