Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.

It’s important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Non-cancerous breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast. They are not life threatening, but some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care professional to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer) and if it might affect your future cancer risk.

Researchers have found several factors that increase your risk of breast cancer.

Some that you can not control include:

  • Race: breast cancer is slightly more likely to develop in white females, than African-American, Hispanic, and Asian females. However, African-American females are more likely to develop more aggressive, more advanced-stage breast cancer that is diagnosed at a young age.
  • Gender: while men do develop breast cancer, less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases happen in men.
  • Genetic: in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor that can help indicate breast cancer. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there is greater risk of developing this disease.
  • Age: according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers develop in women younger than 45, while about 2 out of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.

While you can’t control all things that increase your risk of breast cancer, there are somethings that you can adjust to help lower your risk. By improving your health through a healthy diet, proper exercise, and limiting your consumption of tobacco and alcohol, you can lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Before making any changes to your diet or starting any exercise program, consult your doctor.

The Most Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer Include:

  • swelling of all or part of the breast
  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • breast pain
  • nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the underarm area

Because these symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions, it is important to get the correct diagnosis to find the right treatment. Use the form below to talk to one of our specialist about your symptoms today.

What is a breast screening?

As with all cancers, an important part of the treatment process is detecting the cancer as early as possible. There are a few tests that will help determine if your symptoms are linked to breast cancer. In most cases your doctor will conduct a medical history and physical exam to look for signs of breast cancer. Your physician may also request one of the following imaging tests to provide further information.

  • Mammograms: a low-dose x-rays of the breast. Regular mammograms can help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most successful. A mammogram can often find breast changes that could be cancer years before physical symptoms develop.
  • Clinical or self breast exam: most breast cancer cases are detected when symptoms, such as a lump, are found during a examination either by a clinical professional or by themselves.

To find out more about the screening options, or to schedule a consultation, please fill out the form. One of our dedicated team members will follow up with more information, and help answer any questions you may have.

    How do we treat breast cancer?

    The radiation treatment procedure is painless, but it may cause some skin discomfort over time. When treating early-stage breast cancer, radiation therapy is often given after surgery. Surgery is done to remove the cancer, and radiation is done to destroy any cancer cells that may remain after surgery. This helps lower the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Treatments are scheduled Monday through Friday over the course of several weeks.

    At South Georgia Center for Cancer Care, we utilize various types of radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays that target specific cancer sites. Our advanced technology allows us to precisely aim the radiation at the tumor while avoiding damage to the normal, healthy cells. Radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells, relieve symptoms associated with cancer, and/or prevent the cancer from returning.

    Your treatment is custom-tailored and unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Your radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation) will review all available treatment options and recommend a personalized plan for you based on national guidelines, which guide all cancer treatments. Radiation therapy is used either alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery.

    Radiation can be delivered either from outside the body with a machine called a linear accelerator (external beam radiation) or from a radiation source implanted permanently or temporarily in the body (brachytherapy).

    Benefits of Radiation Therapy:

    • Pain Free Treatment Delivery
    • Non-Invasive
    • Custom Tailored Treatment Plan
    • Little to No Side Effects
    • Immediate Return to Daily Activities
    • Minimal Radiation Exposure to Adjacent Healthy Tissue
    Halcyon for Breast Cancer Treatment

    Varian’s Halcyon Platform utilizes image guided radiation therapy to provide a consistent treatment based on a predetermined customized treatment plan. By collecting 3-Dimensional images of your cancer, our Radiation Oncologist are able to sculpt each dose of radiation to avoid any adjacent healthy tissue. The Halcyon’s 6-point safety system provides confidence and ease to pre-treatment setup process. It’s intuitive design is focused on you the patient. By offering a smoother motor design, quieter linear accelerator, and lower couch height, we can lower your stress and limit the treatment time.

    In developing Halcyon, Varian set out to rethink the way we approached radiotherapy so you can redefine the way you fight cancer. Every single component, innovation, and minute detail has been designed, engineered, tested, re-tested, and then seamlessly integrated to work together in perfect harmony. The Halcyon is designed to be intuitive, friendly, and comfortable for both the clinical staff and patients. A faster setup process allows our staff the opportunity to provide the highest level of care for every patient.

    What to Expect
    1

    Initial Scans

    To create a customized treatment plan, you will have a CT or PET/CT scan to identify the exact location of your cancer.
    2

    Pre-Treatment Preparation

    Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots may be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumor. The markings will be visible on your skin, but only in the area of the tumor and are permanent. They are designed to fade and will begin to disappear towards the end of your radiation treatments. Occasionally, the markings will have to be reapplied to your skin during treatment. It is very important that you do not scrub the markings during your bathing/showering. Your radiation therapist will discuss with you how to care for your skin during your treatments, including protecting the markings.
    3

    Radiation Treatment Scheduling

    Radiation treatments happen Monday through Friday for a number of weeks, usually for 5-8 weeks. Weekend breaks, on Saturday and Sunday, allow your normal cells to recover and assist your healing process.
    4

    Treatment Room

    Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room, into the treatment room with the linear accelerator (radiation machine). The therapist will make you comfortable in the room and assist you in getting positioned on the treatment table.
    5

    Delivery Machine Setup

    Two therapists will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapists will then leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.
    6

    Delivery of Radiation Therapy

    During the treatment the machine will move over your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment, can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin. Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes. The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition.
    7

    Post Treatment Followup

    Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. However, we are always available if you need us.

    Take The Next Step

    If are showing any of the symptoms listed on this page, are prone to the risks listed above, or are seeking more information on breast cancer screenings or available treatment options, please click on the button below. Conveniently located in Statesboro, GA, our friendly, courteous staff is always willing to answer questions, and we make every effort to make your visit as comfortable as possible.

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    I've never been treated better in my life. My care was perfect. They made it quick and easy so I could get back to doing what I enjoy.

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