The risk for breast cancer increases with age. According to Cancer.org, the median age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which means that half the women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 62, and half are older. Due to genetic tendencies and family history, some women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer earlier in life.
For these reasons, the CDC recommends that women should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening between the ages of 40 and 44-years-old. Women ages 45 to 54-years-old should get mammograms yearly. For women aged 55 years and older, screening with mammography is recommended once every two years or once a year. Women aged 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually. No matter your risk level it is important to begin having conversations with your doctor about breast cancer by the age of 40. In these conversations, you should discuss breast health, prevention, self-exams, and screening.
Screening is recommended for women before they feel any signs and symptoms of breast cancer, such as changes in the size and shape of the breast, nipple discharge, lump in the breast or underarm, dimpling of breast skin, or pain in any area of the breast. While abnormalities in the breast do not immediately mean breast cancer, it is important to be armed with the education and understanding of what to do next.
Breast Cancer Treatment Options
There are many procedures available to treat breast cancer. When detected in its early stages, surgery and radiation therapy are typically used. In more advanced cases, treatment may involve a combination of the following:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
At Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology, we offer the services of expert breast cancer physicians and the latest breast cancer treatments to conserve breast tissue and to prevent a recurrence. The following are advanced breast cancer treatment options that we provide our patients:
- Brachytherapy. Our cancer center in Tampa, FL was the first local facility to offer Brachytherapy. This treatment is a system that delivers internal radiation therapy to breast cancer patients after lumpectomy surgery. Brachytherapy targets only the part of the breast where the cancer was found.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). IMRT uses very precise imaging techniques and a linear accelerator to deliver radiation to the tumor three-dimensionally. IMRT targets the cancer site with the maximum radiation dose, delivered in hundreds of thin, individually controlled beams.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). IGRT is an advanced radiotherapy treatment that targets cancer more precisely, determines optimal radiation doses, and spares more of the surrounding healthy tissue. IGRT sessions determine whether the tumor has moved or changed in size or shape, allowing for adjustments to be made during the course of radiotherapy treatment.
- CyberKnife®. The CyberKnife® System represents the next generation of radiosurgery systems, combining continual image-guidance technology with a compact linear accelerator that can move in three dimensions.
Contact Us at Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about breast cancer and breast cancer treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple Florida facilities located in Tampa, FL, and Brandon, FL.