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How Some Top University Medical Centers Are Treating Breast Cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and once a woman gets over the shock of hearing that news from her doctor, she's then tasked with finding the best possible care to help her get through it physically and emotionally. The following university medical centers provide that care, and in some cases, conduct the research that advance the way breast cancer is treated.

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Stanford Cancer Center

The Stanford Cancer Center, part of Stanford University's School of Medicine, combines state-of-the-art medical treatments with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that includes fountains, gardens and works of art. The Center offers a number of resources for breast cancer patients, including a radiation therapy unit, a pharmacy, nutritional services and a learning center. In addition, the Center created the Decision Tool, which is designed to give women information on the probability of different health outcomes depending on their health history and what kind of treatments they undergo.

The Stanford Cancer Center is currently conducting clinical trials for chemotherapy treatments, which look at the effectiveness and side effects of new breast cancer drug regimens.

The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center

The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center, which was named the best regional cancer hospital by U.S. News and World Report, offers numerous treatment options for breast cancer patients, including surgical treatments like lumpectomies and mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and reconstructive surgery. In addition, the Center formed a partnership with the University of Maryland Medical School to help train the next generation of oncologists. Under this program, medical students in their residencies get the hands-on experience they need to work with breast cancer patients, and they participate in activities such as creating patient workups, conducting surgical procedures, and following up with those who have undergone breast surgery.

According to Marsha Oakley, a nurse navigator at the Center, this is an invaluable experience for residents, and they learn skills that will make them successful oncologists.

"What we find is, residents are saying they really have learned things that will affect their practice when they go out on their own, and they would not have had the opportunity to learn them otherwise," she said.

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is part of the University of Michigan, provides breast cancer patients with a holistic approach to treatment, giving them access to a team of medical professionals that includes medical oncologists, nurses, surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons, and social workers who come together to find the best solutions for each individual patient. In addition, the Center offers its patients education and emotional support through peer counseling, support groups, and a reconstruction forum.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

The Cancer Center at the University of Kansas offers a wide range of therapies for patients, including system therapies like chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and immunotherapy; oncoplastic surgery, which is a combination of oncology and plastic surgeries; and muscle-sparing flap reconstruction, which entails removing skin and fat from the abdomen and transplanting it into the patient's breast area. In addition, the facility includes the Breast Cancer Prevention Center, which provides genetic counseling and testing to determine who is at risk of getting the disease, as well as prevention services for high-risk patients.

The Center also conducts a number of clinical trials to test new chemotherapy medications, lymph node therapies for cancer patients, and nutrition therapies for breast cancer survivors. There are also clinical trials being conducted that look at the most effective methods for treating men with breast cancer. In addition, the Cancer Center is testing a cancer survivorship registry, and looking at the relationship between breast cancer and postmenopausal weight gain.

University of Tennessee Medical Center

The University of Tennessee's Medical Center includes the University Breast Center, which was named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The Center is dedicated to providing quality and compassionate care to breast cancer patients, and in addition to services such as mammography screenings, ultrasound examinations, and surgical services, the facility also provides educational and emotional support to breast cancer patients and their families.

Rush University Cancer Center

The Rush University Cancer Center offers a number of services for breast cancer patients including chemotherapy, mastectomies, lymph node dissection, lumpectomies, radiation therapy, and breast reconstruction procedures. In addition, the center also provides integrated medicine therapies that give patients a holistic type of treatment -- to help patients with symptoms and side effects of their breast cancer treatment -such as acupuncture, yoga, and counseling. For preventative measures, the Rush University Cancer Center conducts genetic testing to determine the risk a specific patient has of developing the disease.

Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic

The Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic, which is part of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, provides medical oncology treatment services, such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy. In addition, the clinic offers surgical procedures based on the needs of each individual patient. There are also breast cancer screening services, like diagnostic imaging and mammograms, that are available to those who are concerned about the risk of getting the disease. In order to provide moral support and education, the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic has an Ask a Nurse service, which allows those who are going through treatment, have a love one being treated for breast cancer, or those concerned about risk factors to speak to a certified breast cancer nurse to address their concerns.

There are numerous benefits of university cancer treatment centers, as they give patients access to the most groundbreaking treatment options and cutting-edge technologies. They are also a great place for those who are interested in pursuing health care careers, as they get the opportunity to save lives and contribute to research that develops the treatments of the future.

Sources:

Docetaxel and Cyclophosphamide Compared to Anthracycline-Based Chemotherapy in Treating Women With HER2-Negative Breast Cancer, National Cancer Institute, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search/view?cdrid=727332&version=healthprofessional#ContactInfo_CDR0000727332

Decision Tool for Women with BRCA Mutations, Stanford University, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://brcatool.stanford.edu/

Breast Cancer Program, Stanford University, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/breast-cancer-program.html

The Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford University, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://oncology.stanford.edu/about/cancercenter.html

Marsha Oakley, personal communication, October 1, 2014.

The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy, Mercy Medical Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, https://mdmercy.com/centers-of-excellence/womens-health/breast-center?sc_lang=en

Breast Care Center, U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.mcancer.org/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-center

Clinical Trials, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.kucancercenter.org/cancer-clinical-trials/results?cancer_type=Breast-Female&trial_type=all

Clinical Trials, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.kucancercenter.org/cancer-clinical-trials/results?cancer_type=Breast-Male&trial_type=all

Breast Cancer Overview, University of Kansas Cancer Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.kucancercenter.org/cancer-information/specialties-and-treatment/breast-cancer

University Breast Center, The University of Tennessee Medical Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/cancer-institute/medical-services/university-breast-care/university-breast-center/

Breast Cancer Services, Rush University Medical Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.rush.edu/services/breast-cancer-services

Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic, The University of Arizona Cancer Center, Accessed October 1, 2014, http://azcc.arizona.edu/patients/clinic/breastcancer