Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women all over the world (it affects about 1 in 8 women). Although its incidence rates have increased, the mortality rates have decreased thanks to early detection and the wide range of available treatments. This means that chances of recovery are high, of even 100 percent if it is diagnosed at an early stage.
At the Unidad de la Mujer we have a multidisciplinary team called “The Breast Unit” specifically devoted to cancer breast patients. Comprehensive preliminary studies of the patient allow personalized treatments and may also avoid unnecessary surgeries.
At the Unidad we provide annual screening with complete physical exam in the doctor’s office. This is supported by a diagnostic radiology service that will carry out the appropriate tests: digital mammography and breast and axillary ultrasound, MRI, galactography… and an interventional radiology service that performs fine needle aspiration biopsies, chorionic villus biopsies, hook wire marking using different methods of imaging guidance (i.e. mammography, ultrasound MRI, pet scan…)
The gynecologic surgeons will then evaluate each case. The current trend is to do, whenever possible, conservative surgery and sentinel node removal. Thanks to the presence of an expert on nuclear medicine, if the sentinel node is not infected, then it will not be necessary to remove all axillary nodes. To that end, the anatomic pathology service will do intrasurgical biopsies that will allow us to make important decisions inside the operating room.
If the tumor characteristics call for a more radical surgery, such as a mastectomy (total removal of the breast), we work together with a team of plastic surgeons in order to be able to perform an immediate reconstruction, thus minimizing the psychological impact of this procedure on the patient.
In patients with a high risk of having cancer for genetic reasons (they are carriers of determinate oncogenes such as BRCA-1 and BRCA-2) a prophylactic mastectomy can be an option, as well as treatment with anti-estrogen drugs like Tamoxifen.
Devising a complementary treatment (radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy…) and a close monitoring by medical oncologists and radiotherapists at our center is key to a successful and as unaggressive as possible treatment.
Mamaprint and Oncotype are innovative techniques that identify breast cancer types and that can help avoid chemotherapy when the prognosis is favorable.
Because our treatment of breast cancer is multidisciplinary, we also have clinical psychologists for those patients requiring counseling.