Breast cancer treatment with you in mind
Los Robles Regional Medical Center’s breast cancer specialists know how important it is for you to have the most current information regarding breast health. We are proud to be recognized as the first accredited Breast Center within Ventura County by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
We can take care of all of your breast health needs. For more information about our breast center treatment options, please contact us at the following phone numbers:
- To schedule a mammogram screening, call (805) 523-8062.
- For an appointment with a breast cancer specialist, call our Consult-A-Nurse® line at (877) 888-5746.
- For general breast cancer information, call our nurse navigator, Cathy Cole, NP, MPH, at (805) 370-4347.
It is our priority to provide you and your family with the best supportive care to manage and treat breast cancer. We have made it our goal to actively promote awareness and provide our patients with the best comprehensive care available through our multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
Breast cancer facts
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in this country. Approximately 235,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. More than 40,000 die from it. Men can be diagnosed with breast cancer as well. Breast cancer in men is a rare disease that accounts for approximately one percent of breast cancer cases in the U.S. and 122.4 cases in California.
Throughout the past 20 to 25 years, there has been significant progress in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The overall survival rate is now better than 90 percent when breast cancer is found in its earliest stages.
Different types of breast cancer
Cancer starts with normal cells in the body. Normal cells grow, divide and form new cells, and when cells become old or damaged, they die. With cancer, however, cells multiply too quickly, and old or damaged cells do not die. The excess cells that do not die form an abnormal mass that becomes cancerous.
The two sites for breast cancer development are either in the ducts known as ductal cancer or in the milk producing lobules known as lobular cancer.
Breast cancer can be either noninvasive or invasive. Invasive breast cancer occurs when the cancer cells break away from the original tumor. These cells can enter blood or lymph vessels and travel to other parts of the body and can attach to tissue elsewhere and form new tumors. Noninvasive breast cancer means the disease is confined to the area where it began, such as in a duct or a milk-producing lobule.
The role of hormones in cancer development and treatment
Two hormones in the body, estrogen and progesterone, play a vital role in breast tumor growth and treatment. The estrogen hormone fuels the growth of about two-thirds of breast cancers. This type of cancer is called estrogen receptor-positive, or ER-positive, but not all receptors bind to estrogen. Some may bind to the hormone progesterone and are progesterone receptor-positive or PR-positive.
When estrogen or progesterone binds to the receptor, it sets off the abnormal growth pattern. Additionally, about 25 percent of breast cancers are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2-positive), which means they have too much HER2/neu protein or too many copies of its gene. These cancers tend to grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer.
Breast cancer symptoms
In its earliest stages, breast cancer may not have any signs or symptoms. As it grows, however, it can cause changes that are visual, such as:
- A new lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
- A dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Pain in the breast or nipple
- Flaky, red or swollen skin anywhere on the breast
- A nipple that suddenly turns inward
- Blood or other discharge from the nipple (not related to nursing)
Any of the above could be caused by something other than cancer, but it is best to let your doctor check it out.
The importance of mammogram screening
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mammograms remain the best way for breast cancer to be found early because that is when it is most easily treated. Today's technology can find a tumor up to three years before it can be felt—which usually does not happen until it is about the size of a pea. Los Robles Regional Medical Center offers the new Soft-Touch MammoPads for a more comfortable mammogram screening experience.
The American Cancer Society recommends women keep the following schedules for mammograms and clinical breast exams:
- At age 20, begin having your breasts examined by a medical professional at least every three years
- At age 40, begin having a screening mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year
For additional information, please visit the American Cancer Society website.