Compassionate Treatment for Breast Cancer in Fall River & Fairhaven, MA
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting American women after skin cancer. Each year in the United States, about 230,000 women find out they have breast cancer.
No matter where you are in your breast cancer journey, Southcoast Health can help. Find a doctor or your nearest Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care to make an appointment for a consultation or to ask any questions you may have.
Types of Breast Cancer
Having breast cancer means you have malignant cells in your breast tissue. However, there are many different types of breast cancer:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) only affects the cells lining the milk ducts. This early, stage 0, very treatable type of breast cancer represents about one in five new cases.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma starts in the milk ducts and invades surrounding fatty breast tissue. It is the most common type of breast cancer.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma starts in the milk-producing glands and invades other tissues. It accounts for about one in 10 breast cancers.
- Less common types include inflammatory breast cancer, Paget disease of the nipple, Phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma
In addition to the type of breast cancer, your doctor will also run tests to see if the cancer has spread beyond the breast. The results of these tests, along with the staging of breast cancer, will help your doctor come up with the best treatment recommendations for you.
Risk Factors & Causes
Experts don’t fully understand what causes breast cancer. Being a woman is the main risk factor for developing breast cancer, but other risk factors include:
- Age — the risk increases with age
- Caucasian race
- Dense breast tissue and other breast conditions
- DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposure
- Early menstruation before age 12 or late menopause after age 55
- Family or personal history of breast cancer
- Genetics — 5 to 10% of breast cancers are related to mutations in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Previous chest radiation therapy
- Lifestyle factors, such as being overweight, not exercising and consuming alcohol can also increase the risk.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
A mammogram screening can find many breast cancers before symptoms develop. The most common symptom is a lump or mass. Others include:
- Change in size, shape or appearance of the breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple or nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
- Skin changes on the breast or nipple
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
How We Can Treat Breast Cancer at Southcoast Health
Your treatment for breast cancer will depend on many factors, including the type and stage of cancer. Standard treatment options include:
- Hormone therapy, with the use of aromatase inhibitors
- Radiation (External beam therapy and brachytherapy)
- Targeted therapy
- Immune therapy
With experienced specialists at the Southcoast Breast Center and Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, you can trust every part of your breast cancer care and treatment to our team at Southcoast Health.
Through the Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, Southcoast Health offers advanced treatment for breast cancer in Fall River, Fairhaven, MA and surrounding areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.