The multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic at the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center provides patients with access to specialists with a wide range of expertise, including medical oncology, radiation oncology and breast surgery – all working together to provide the highest quality care in a timely and coordinated fashion. Our experts will also offer a second opinion to help patients evaluate their treatment options.
Treatment is offered for the following breast cancer conditions:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Invasive breast cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Recurrent or metastatic breast cancer
- Male breast cancer
Multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic
We work closely with patients to help them transition from diagnosis to treatment. Each patient’s case is reviewed by a breast surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pathologist and nurses who create a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. Our patients also have full access to the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center if additional care is needed.
Individual courses of treatment may include the following innovative approaches:
- Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy, which can determine whether cancer has spread
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy techniques
- Partial mastectomy/lumpectomy
- Oncoplastic surgery
- Breast reconstruction (implant-based or tissue-transfer)
- Anti-estrogen hormonal therapy
- Chemotherapy, either before or after surgery
- Supportive care therapies (such as infusions to stabilize bones) to eliminate or reduce symptoms that can interfere with quality of life
- Advanced radiation techniques that minimize the heart’s exposure to radiation and use of image-guided technologies to pinpoint the treatment area
- Partial-breast irradiation (PBI)
- Clinical trials of promising new therapies, some of which are determined by tumor and genotyping
- Genetic testing and cancer risk assessment counseling
Our medical oncologists work with specialized breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists and other members of the care team to determine the best course of treatment. We use the latest chemotherapy regimens and anti-estrogen therapies to achieve the best possible results for each patient. Some women may have the option of starting with systemic chemotherapy treatment (neoadjuvant therapy) before surgery is performed. Shrinking a tumor in advance through chemotherapy can avoid extensive breast surgery to remove a tumor. The neoadjuvant approach also can help oncologists determine how well a tumor is responding to treatment. In some cases, chemotherapy may be required after surgery, and radiation therapy is always required after a lumpectomy to destroy any possible remaining cancer cells. Our oncologists also may use oncotype tumor testing, which helps determine the likelihood of the breast cancer recurring and whether a patient is likely to benefit from commonly used chemotherapy regimens.
Our radiation oncologists offer patients the latest treatment regimens and innovative techniques such as partial breast and prone breast radiation therapy. State-of-the-art linear accelerators provide radiation therapy, including intensity modulated radiation therapy that is targeted and exact. These options target the cancer while reducing radiation exposure to the heart, lungs and other surrounding organs and tissue.
Genetic testing and cancer risk assessment counseling
Some patients have an increased risk of developing breast cancer based on their family history. Our team of certified genetic counselors is available to meet with patients to discuss genetic testing and gather the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions.
Our patients have access to clinical trials of new treatments and therapies with the goal of improving patient care and advancing scientific knowledge. Massachusetts General Hospital offers one of New England’s largest clinical trial programs. Eligible patients can participate at any stage of disease. Patients are encouraged to speak with their oncologists about enrolling in clinical trials that may be appropriate for them.
To learn more about eligibility and participation in clinical trials, contact the clinical trials team at 978-882-6032 or click here: http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/SearchTrials.aspx
Patients with an increased risk for breast cancer based on family history or personal health will work with a special team of breast experts and medical oncologists to assess options and manage their care. Recommendations may include earlier, more frequent and advanced diagnostic testing, genetic testing and counseling, breast cancer prevention medications or a change of lifestyle factors. For more information, visit the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center