The risk is there as women age, and doctors agree that vigilance is the key to catching breast cancer and treating it with the best chance of curing it and ensuring survival. Approximately 95 percent of breast cancer patients whose cancer is caught in an early stage survive beyond five years. The key to determining how best to monitor your breast health is a frank discussion with your doctor about how often you should have a screening mammogram once you reach age 40, based on your personal risk factors.
Common Terms Associated with Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can take on many forms and may be referred to by any of the following terms.
Ductal Carcinoma – Breast cancer located in the lining of the milk ducts.
Lobular Carcinoma – Breast cancer located in the milk glands.
Invasive – Breast cancer that spreads beyond where it began in the breast to surrounding tissue, also referred to as metastasizing. About 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer cases occur each year.
Non-Invasive - Breast cancer that is confined to where in the breast it began. About 50,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer occur each year.
Hormone-Receptor Positive – This means the breast cancer tumor cells contains hormone receptors. Hormone therapy can be used to block estrogen and/or progesterone production in order to slow or stop the growth of hormone-sensitive (or hormone-dependent) breast cancers.
Hormone-Receptor Negative – This means the breast cancer tumor cells do not contain hormone receptors. Hormone therapy would not be an effective treatment to slow or stop the growth of a tumor.
Our experienced and compassionate oncology nurse navigator quickly becomes the champion for patients, as she counsels, schedules and coordinates each office visit.
Patients can expect the following:
- Prior to a patient’s first visit, our nurse navigator contacts the patient and/or their caregiver to collect medical history, including genetic history, and answer any questions.
- At the first appointment, our navigator greets each patient helping to put them at ease. Patients then meet one-on-one with members of our oncology specialist team who will discuss treatment options and answer questions.
- Patients will also spend time with our lifestyle counselors to discuss resources available through our Survivorship Program.
- Before each patient leaves, our nurse navigator thoroughly walks through their plan of care, and actively listens for questions she can help answer. Our nurse navigator will help patients understand their next steps.
Patients can count on our nurse navigator to help guide them through their entire journey, coordinating physician appointments and communication between providers and counselors within our clinic.
Questions to ask your oncologist
- How will you determine whether I have breast cancer and what kind of breast cancer I have?
- How will you determine the best treatment for me?
- How long does each treatment option typically last, both individually and as a series of treatments?
- How will you know if the treatment is making progress?
- How long will I need to remain your patient?
How Can I Decrease my Risk of Breast Cancer?
You can minimize your risk of developing breast cancer through these four steps:
- Exercising 3 or more hours per week
- Eating low-fat and high-fiber foods
- Maintaining a normal body weight (a BMI of less than 25)
- Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day
Two East Valley Locations
Our two comprehensive cancer clinics are conveniently located near you in Chandler and Gilbert. You can find the Dignity Health East Valley Cancer Clinics on the campus of Chandler Regional Medical Center (located at Dobson and Frye Rd in Chandler, AZ) and also on the campus of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center (located at Val Vista just south of the 202 in Gilbert, AZ).