Breast Cancer

Compassionate Breast Cancer Care for Women

We know a breast cancer diagnosis may be overwhelming and filled with uncertainty. At Ochsner LSU Health, our Breast Health Center team is here to help you navigate your cancer journey – from diagnosis to survivorship.

We approach your care as a team—one that includes you and your family. The team-based approach allows us to collaborate and design a treatment plan that is tailored to you and your individual needs. On top of that, all the specialists you need can be found within our network of cancer experts.

Our Care Team and Extensive Services Include:

  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Plastic surgery approaches to remove tumors
  • Infusion services
  • Radiation therapy
  • Genetic counseling and testing
  • Evaluation and management of patients at high risk for breast cancer
  • Cancer nurse navigators
  • Next-day telehealth with a nurse practitioner
  • Access to clinical trials
  • Oncology social workers
  • Cancer support groups
  • Survivorship and resiliency resources

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

The treatment of most breast cancers requires a combination of surgery, radiation and anti-hormonal therapy, plus the use of chemotherapy when appropriate.

Chemotherapy involves a combination of medication to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used to treat node positive tumors, large and/or fast-growing tumors – such as HER2 positive or triple negative tumors. The medication regime you receive will depend on your tumors subtype. Chemotherapy can be recommended as the first therapy (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy) or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy).

Radiation Therapy is treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells in the breast and lymph nodes. Women who choose breast conserving therapies such as a lumpectomy will require radiation therapy. Those choosing a mastectomy may not need radiation.

Hormonal Therapy stops the spread of cancer cells that use hormones to grow. Antiestrogen therapy is used to treat hormone positive breast cancer by either blocking hormone receptors on cancer cells or lowering the amount of hormones in your body.

Surgical Therapy is used to remove tumors in the breast and in the axillary lymph nodes. Most will only require a small number of lymph nodes to be removed, called the Sentinel Lymph Nodes (approximately 3 LN). Some will require removal of more lymph nodes. This is called an Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (approximately 15 LN).

Where Does Breast Cancer Start and Grow?

Breast cancer can start from tissues within the breast. Many start from the milk ducts, tiny tubes in the breast that carry milk from the milk glands (lobules) to the nipple. Tumors that arise in the milk ducts are called ductal cancers.

Less frequently cancer can start in milk glands or lobular milk glands. The tumors that arise in these glands are called lobular cancers.

Tumors (T) initially grow in the breast and can be found by mammography as new changes or as a mass.

As a tumor grows it can spread outside the breast. One of the first places it can spread is the lymph nodes (N). Lymph nodes act as filters that can catch and trap cancer cells before they reach other parts of the body. Breast cancer can spread to sites outside of the breast and lymph nodes. If found in these distant sites this cancer is considered Metastatic (M) disease.

Early-Stage Breast Cancer Has a 95% Rate of Survival

Advanced research has led to improved, targeted therapies and personalized medicine, giving women more treatment options than ever before. Targeted therapies are treatments that are targeted directly to the tumor, sparing the healthy surrounding tissue. Personalized medicine allows the cancer team to make treatment recommendations based on the genetics of a patient’s tumor.

The Role of Genetics in Breast Cancer

Your family’s history of breast and other cancers is very important and may affect your treatment choices. Approximately 15% of breast cancer cases are associated with an inherited gene that increases your risk of breast cancer. These genes contain mutations that are passed from generation to generation. If the genes don’t function normally, breast, ovarian and other cancer risk increases.

If you are young or have a significant history of cancer in your family, additional testing may be ordered to determine if you may carry a gene that increases your risk for cancer.

Have Questions?

Our Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Breast Health team is here to help you navigate your cancer journey. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Feist-Weiller Cancer Center St. Mary Medical Center Monroe Medical Center

Feist-Weiller Cancer Center: 318-813-1000 | St. Mary Medical Center: 318-626-1540 | Monroe Medical Center: 318-330-7000