Beating breast cancer isn’t an easy task. Hahnemann’s Breast Cancer program works to provide you with a multidisciplinary approach that aims to return you to full health, with help from surgery, radiation and medical oncology specialists. Led by fellowship-trained breast surgeon Amanda M. Woodworth, MD, our breast program includes breast cancer screening, risk factor counseling and diagnostic testing. We also offer a wide range of breast cancer treatment options, access to clinical trials, breast reconstruction and psychological support after treatment.
Planning your breast cancer treatment is largely determined by whether breast cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Using sentinel lymph node biopsy, a surgeon injects a blue dye, a radioactive substance or both into the area around the tumor. The dye or radioactive substance follows the path that tumor cells would potentially take from the tumor area to the lymph nodes.
The surgeon then removes the lymph node (or sometimes a few) that first take up the dye or radioactive substance. The lymph node that cancer cells are most likely to travel to is called the sentinel node. If the sentinel node doesn’t contain cancer cells, no more nodes are removed. Because fewer nodes are typically removed with this technique, there are usually fewer side effects.
Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer, and Hahnemann surgeons offer a range of options for breast surgery. For women with early stage breast cancer, breast conservation surgery — surgery to remove just the cancer and a small amount of surrounding tissue without removing the breast — is offered. Women who’ve had a mastectomy may also be able to receive breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild the breast’s shape.
In addition to offering the standard external beam modality radiation therapy, Hahnemann now offers Brachytherapy (radiation in temporary implant) to patients with early-stage breast cancer. This is a promising new treatment delivered over five days instead of the six weeks that whole-breast radiation therapy can take. This type of treatment delivers radiation directly to the breast cancer site, sparing healthy breast tissue. This therapy is suggested for those ages 60 years and older.
Drug therapy including chemotherapy and hormone therapy are other common treatments for breast cancer. Many breast tumors have receptors for estrogen and progesterone, which stimulate them to grow. Breast cancer patients whose tumors are estrogen-sensitive are likely to be offered hormone therapy. Hormone therapies are designed to prevent estrogen and progesterone from stimulating growth of the breast cancer.
For eligible patients, Hahnemann is sometimes able to offer investigational treatments through clinical trials. Talk with your oncologist to determine if you may be eligible.
If you’d like to learn more about the Breast Cancer program at Hahnemann University Hospital or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at
888-586-3195. To find a Hahnemann cancer specialist, use our
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