Breast Cancer Care at The Christ Hospital

Breast cancer treatment at The Christ Hospital Health Network

If you have breast cancer, it's natural to feel anxious or afraid. You may have concerns about the side effects of treatment, such as losing your hair or feeling tired. You may wonder whether a mastectomy is in your future, or if your cancer can be treated without surgery.

As a woman, you also juggle many responsibilities. Whether you care for young children or an elderly parent, or you work full-time while managing your household, you want to know how cancer treatment will affect your life.

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we understand you have both medical and personal concerns. That's why we create a customized treatment plan that not only fights your cancer, but helps you come to terms with your diagnosis and cope with your treatments.

Our cancer care team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, breast surgeons and reconstructive surgeons. Together they create a customized treatment plan to fight your cancer—while remaining sensitive to the fact that breast cancer treatment can have a profound impact on a woman's life.

Innovative treatment options for breast cancer

We offer some of the most advanced medical, surgical and radiation treatments available. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

Medications

There are many kinds of drugs that help treat breast cancer. These include:

  • Chemotherapy—drugs that kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

  • Hormone blocking therapy—drugs that lower your levels of estrogen or progesterone (female hormones), or prevent them from attaching to cancer cells. Estrogen and progesterone help certain types of breast cancer grow. Hormone blocking therapy may be used during treatment, or after treatment as a way to help stop breast cancer from coming back.

  • Targeted therapies—drugs that target specific tumor cells to make sure they do not grow or spread. 

Radiation therapy

We offer the most advanced forms of radiation therapy (treatments that use radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors). These include:
  • External beam radiation therapy—a machine outside your body aims radiation at the tumor while you lie on a table. We use different types of external beam radiation therapy, for example to provide larger doses of radiation over a shorter period of time. Examples include intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) and accelerated partial breast radiation.

  • Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy)—placing tiny capsules of radioactive material directly into the breast tissue.

  • Radiosurgery—a targeted form of radiation therapy for breast cancer. We were one of the first hospitals to get the Varian Edge radiosurgery system. It treats difficult tumors in fewer treatment sessions and tracks tumors in real-time. Even tumors that move during treatment receive precise amounts of radiation, with less damage to nearby healthy organs.

Surgery
We perform the full-range of surgical procedures to treat breast cancer, including breast-sparing and skin-sparing techniques. These include:
  • Lumpectomy—surgery to remove only the portion of the breast containing cancer, as well as some surrounding tissue. Also known as breast-conserving surgery, a lumpectomy is often used to treat early-stage breast cancer. Intraoperative radiation therapy may be an option if the location, size and stage of your cancer meets criteria.

  • Mastectomy surgery to remove an entire breast.

  • Double mastectomy—surgery to remove both breasts.

For patients who choose to have immediate or delayed breast reconstruction surgery, we offer a variety of plastic and reconstructive procedures to meet your needs. Some may include:
  • Breast implants.

  • "Flap surgeries" using natural tissue, including DIEP flap and TRAM flap techniques.

  • Nipple and areola reconstruction.

Rehabilitation and other support services for breast cancer patients

Our expansive health network includes rehabilitation specialists who specialize in lymphedema  and cancer fatigue, medical conditions that can affect women during and after breast cancer treatment. Whether you have pain or stiffness, or persistent swelling in your arm or leg, our certified lymphedema therapists will help relieve your symptoms. 

You may also complement your treatments with our wide range of support services and integrative medicine programs. These include stress management, transportation help, financial counseling, Tai Chi classes, music therapy and pet therapy.