What to Expect When You Visit
You may be referred to our center when you or your doctor notices a change in your breast. When you arrive, you will be greeted by our supportive staff who will help you with paperwork, check your vital signs, and review your medications. The changes that you have been noticing in your breasts will be discussed and you will be examined by capable clinicians. If the examination is concerning, we have the ability to set up further tests (mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI) the same day or over the next few days. The results will be discussed with you by the clinician that you first met.
Part of your evaluation will include assessing your personal risk. Your family’s medical problems may affect your health. If your family history includes close relatives with breast and/or ovarian cancer, we offer consultation with the High Risk/Cancer Genetics Clinic, which has a talented medical oncologist. Genetics testing is available through this program. Many people who carry a gene that increases the lifetime risk for breast or ovarian cancer are followed by our staff and the genetics clinic and have their routine exams at the breast center.
Sometimes a biopsy is recommended. This may be done in a number of ways. Our team of surgeons and mammographers will work together to recommend the best biopsy method to you. We arrange for your biopsy and check on your progress. After the results are final, you will sit down with your clinician and review the report. Most often, questions are resolved and only routine follow up is necessary. If further evaluation is needed, plans will be made to take the next steps.
If Breast Cancer is Found
If your breast biopsy shows cancer, you will be evaluated by our team of doctors, nurses, and social workers to review your treatment options. This may sound overwhelming, but it has been found that a coordinated team is the best care and helps patients get through this difficult time. We are strongly committed to this approach. A specialist from the three branches of medicine that are often needed to treat breast cancer will meet with you (surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology). Each doctor will review your condition and do an exam.
This can be a difficult time for most people and we know a serious health problem can affect you emotionally. You can talk with our mental health specialist and social worker to get support and guidance based on your specific situation.
The entire team will meet to review all your test results, possible treatment plans, and the many facets of your personal situation. A recommendation from the team is made regarding your treatment and how best to support you. Many times the first step is surgery. Most women need medical treatment after surgery, and some may need it before. If chemotherapy is needed, we provide this at the infusion room at Cambridge Hospital or Everett Hospital. Sometimes Radiation treatments are needed and we most often collaborate with the radiation oncologists at Mount Auburn Hospital.
We hope this provides an insight into the Cambridge Breast Center, and the approach our team takes to care for you and keep you healthy.