Just weeks after announcing she had breast cancer, Giuliana Rancic has decided to undergo a double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. Rancic said the decision was not an easy one, but that she wanted to take the stigma away, saying, "At first the word 'mastectomy' seemed so scary to me, but after doing the research and seeing the advancements, the surgery has come a long way in the past 20 years. The results can be incredible."
Still, a mastectomy is just one option. In light of this news, we decided to explore some of the different breast cancer treatments available. While each case of breast cancer is obviously different, and picking a treatment option will depend on many factors, such as the size of the tumor, we wanted to break down the options available and make the process of choosing a treatment a little easier. We went to Dr. Richard Bleicher, a breast surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and Dr. Linda Vahdat, an oncologist at the Weill Cornell Physician's Organization in New York to get their opinions on the various options.
According to Dr. Bleicher, if a person is in reasonably good health, all treatment options should provide a similar survival rate and risk of the cancer recurring. But there are situtions in which certain treatments might not work for patients.
"For instance, patients with multiple spots of cancer in different areas of the breast widely separated that cannot be removed with a single excision are usually not considered lumpectomy candidates because they have a higher risk of recurrence," Dr. Bleicher says. "Patients who have heart disease or poor cardiac function may not be recommended for certain types of chemotherapy because of the stress it places on their hearts."