Breast cancer treatment is best performed in a team-based approach. Surgeons work with oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, plastic surgeons, genetic counselors and nurse coordinators to ensure patients get the best treatment for their specific type of cancer. Every patient should be discussed at a weekly meeting with all of these specialists who then make evidence-based recommendations for each patient.
Other known risk factors for breast cancer include obesity, use of post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy, alcohol use and smoking. Breast cancer is often a hormonally-driven cancer, meaning that elevated levels of estrogen can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Women with obesity have higher levels of estrogen because of the fatty tissue’s ability to create estrogen, especially in post-menopausal women. Post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is important and necessary in some women, but it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of HRT with your healthcare provider. Both alcohol and smoking increase the risk of breast cancer in a linear fashion, meaning that the more a woman drinks alcohol or smokes, the higher their risk of developing breast cancer. For smokers, this risk can persist even 20 years after quitting. A good place to start to quit is your primary care provider, who can prescribe medications and provide support to help you quit.
Breast cancer is common, but is very treatable when diagnosed at an early stage. You can 801.507.7840 to schedule a mammogram screening, or ask your primary care provider to help you set one up. And always, if you have any concerns about something you’ve found in your breast, tell your doctor.