It is tough to face a breast cancer diagnosis.
But, it's important to navigate treatment as soon as possible.
The medical oncologist will go through the terminology, size of tumor and lymph node status. "Infiltrating" or "invasive" mean the breast cancer cells have grown beyond the duct and have invaded other tissue. "In situ," "pre-cancerous" and "stage zero" mean the cancer cells are confined to the ducts. In situ conveys the breast cancer has been caught early and has low likelihood of spreading to other areas of the breast. "Receptor status" determines what kind of treatment may work best for the patient. The grade of the tumor describes how different the cells appear from regular breast tissue cells; low meaning they look more like regular breast cells, high meaning they look abnormal.
Most cancers in the breast or underarm area can be treated with lumpectomy or mastectomy. If it is more advanced, radiation may be recommended. Chemotherapy or hormonal therapy may be necessary.
Having a strong support system will help the patient get through this ordeal. If you don't have family and friends nearby, find a community support group and rely on the folks in your doctor's office. They want to see you succeed.
Medical oncologist Dr. Karen Tedesco and breast cancer survivor Allison Boyanovski share how to get through a breast cancer diagnosis.