A  A  A   Print
What Is Breast Cancer?

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is cancer that begins in the breast. It is one of the most common types of cancer in American women. Doctors don't yet know what causes breast cancer. Once breast cancer occurs, cancer cells can spread to other parts of your body, making it life-threatening. The good news is that breast cancer is often found early, before it has spread, and more treatment options exist than ever before. That means there's more hope of beating breast cancer.

Your doctor will use a biopsy to tell if you have breast cancer and to predict how fast it may grow, called the grade of the cancer. But it's likely you'll need other tests to learn about how far the cancer has progressed, called the stage of the cancer.

To decide the best course of treatment for you, your health care team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may mean you need to get tests and work with more than one type of doctor or health care professional.

Your oncology health care team may include an oncology nurse and more than one specialist. Here are some of the doctors who specialize in dealing with breast cancer.

  • Gynecologists. Doctors who are specialists in women's health

  • Medical oncologists.  Doctors who are specialists in chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy

  • Radiation oncologists.  Doctors who are specialists in radiation therapy

  • Surgical oncologists.  Doctors who are specialists in surgery related to cancer 

  • Plastic surgeons. Doctors who are specialists in surgical reconstruction

This multidisciplinary approach helps you get well-rounded health care from the most appropriate experts. Your health care team will answer any questions you may have and will help you through each of the steps you'll take before, during, and after treatment. A member of your team will let you know which tests are needed and will review the results with you. Team members will guide you in making treatment decisions.

Treatment for breast cancer usually begins a few weeks after a diagnosis. That gives you time to do these things:

  • Get more tests, if you need them.

  • Talk with your doctor about treatment choices.

  • Get a second opinion, if you want one.

  • Decide about treatment.

  • Prepare yourself and your loved ones.

  • Look into health insurance coverage and financial support for cancer treatment. 

 

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.