Patients who come to the Siteman Cancer Center for treatment of breast cancer are seen by a team of experts — medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons — often at the same visit. A health psychologist is also available as needed.
Experienced nurses then spend time with you, answering your questions and putting you in touch with resources that may help during this often stressful time. These nurses offer patients printed materials and videotapes on benign breast diseases, breast cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other related issues. As a unique feature of your care, we also offer the services of a palliative care specialist who can help you fit treatment into your own special circumstances, if needed.
We have a full range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and molecularly targeted therapy, all of which may be used individually or in combination.
Surgery to remove all or part of the breast tissue is the most common procedure used to treat breast cancer. Radiation therapy, either from beams outside the body or delivered internally at the site of the tumor, can be indicated to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Chemotherapy uses drugs given by mouth or intravenously to kill cancer cells. For breast cancers sensitive to estrogen, you may have hormone therapy recommended. For breast cancers that overexpress HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), anti-HER2 drugs including trastuzumab and others may be indicated.
Our breast cancer physicians are actively involved in clinical studies that investigate new surgical procedures, chemotherapy regimens, immunotherapy, targeted therapies and vaccines. Having your cancer treated at Siteman gives you access to new therapies that are as good as – or potentially better than – current standard therapies available elsewhere. The breast cancer team at Siteman sees about 800 breast cancer patients a year, and they concentrate on that specialty.
Several new drugs that have emerged from clinical studies offer promise in treating metastatic breast cancer, cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Siteman physicians were at the heart of this research, conducting studies on some of these new treatment options. A novel vaccine study under way at Siteman and two other centers is aimed at slowing the progress of metastatic breast cancer.
Plastic and reconstructive surgeons are an important part of the breast cancer team at Siteman. These surgeons work closely with cancer surgeons to provide the best reconstructive outcomes. Patients who undergo mastectomy or lumpectomy to remove cancerous breast tissue have many reconstruction options, including implants, use of your own tissue, done either at the time of cancer surgery or later. For those who choose to forego reconstruction, customized breast prostheses will soon be available with the technology of 3D printing.
The Joanne Knight Breast Health Center, located on the fifth floor of the Center for Advanced Medicine on Siteman’s main campus, brings together a team of physicians and support personnel to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for all diseases of the breast, including breast cancer. The center includes screening and diagnostic mammography services, exam rooms, and educational and support services, to ensure that you receive coordinated, convenient services that address your medical and emotional needs.