The most common forms of breast cancer are hormone-receptor positive (estrogen and/or progesterone). The goal of endocrine (hormonal) therapy is to reduce the amount of estrogen available to those cancer cells.
In 1998, David Plotkin lamented that women were “more alarmed than they need to be about the chances that they will develop breast cancer” and more confident about a cure than they “they should be.”
It’s almost 20 years later, and we should still be concerned about our perception of breast cancer risk.
The conversation between you and your doctor when she tells you that you have breast cancer is life-changing. Sometimes that conversation takes place in person; sometimes it’s over the phone.
For most (not all, but most) patients, decisions on next steps do not need to be made immediately. Breast cancer is often slow-growing with a 5-to-10 year median survival rate following only surgical intervention.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells that may still exist after surgery. It is a local, targeted treatment.
The goal is to destroy undetectable cancer cells in a localized area, which should reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Your treatment will be overseen by a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation therapy.
The pink ribbon started out peach-colored. But its roots lie with the yellow ribbon, which has symbolized support for absent loved ones for more than a century.