Breast cancer therapy options

Your breast cancer treatment plan will be customized so that you receive the most advanced, least invasive treatments with the fewest side effects. At Main Line Health our highly trained specialists strive to eradicate cancer while preserving the breast. Breast cancer treatment options include breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation and reconstructive surgery.

Breast surgery for breast cancer

At Main Line Health we are champions of minimally invasive, breast-conserving surgery techniques. In addition to preserving healthy tissue we utilize the following techniques to minimize blood loss and scarring and reduce recovery time:

Surgical advances in breast cancer care include the use of breast conservation techniques whenever appropriate. In addition to preserving healthy tissue, these techniques minimize blood loss and scarring and reduce recovery time:

  • Lumpectomy – Lumpectomy is the most common form of breast cancer surgery today. It is the removal of the breast tumor (the “lump”) and some of the normal tissue that surrounds it.
  • Mastectomy – Mastectomy is the complete surgical removal of one or both breasts. If a mastectomy is required, our physicians work closely with consulting surgeons specializing in reconstructive surgery to offer women many advanced options. Some patients at high risk for breast cancer due to a strong family history or an inherited genetic abnormality may choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy. At Main Line Health, skin and nipple-sparing mastectomies are standard of care.
  • Cryoablation technique – We are currently involved in a clinical trial utilizing an advanced cryoablation technique (freezing) as a less invasive, less painful alternative to lumpectomy.

Medical oncology for breast cancer

Depending on the extent and nature your cancer diagnosis, additional treatments may be recommended beyond surgery. Various forms of treatment medications may be used in combination or in sequence, to target and eradicate the different types of cells that occur in a single cancer while sparing normal tissue.

A customized treatment plan involves the most effective anti-cancer medications together with supportive medications to minimize any side effects. Our experienced team of board-certified medical oncologists treats hundreds of breast cancer patients each year in a caring and supportive environment with a particular focus on counseling, education and the best forms of advanced cancer-fighting medications.

Radiation treatments for breast cancer

In instances where radiation is needed we are dedicated to providing the best therapy possible in all stages of breast cancer including:

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – This computer driven technology accurately delivers radiation to the region at risk, while protecting surrounding organs and tissues.
  • Partial breast irradiation – Radiation can be delivered only to the area of the breast that contains the tumor instead of to the whole breast. Lankenau is one of the most experienced centers that perform this technique. We were the first in the region to utilize Mammosite® targeted radiation therapy (HDR) – following lumpectomies for early stage breast cancer.
  • Respiratory gating technology – Offered at only a limited number of hospitals in the region, this technique synchronizes the delivery of radiation with a patient’s breathing cycle. The tumor can then be tracked in real-time and targeted with a high dose of radiation while sparing more healthy tissue.
  • RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology – This highly specialized technique increases the accuracy of targeted radiation allowing for faster treatment times and minimizing the chance of harming healthy tissue.
  • Hyperthermia – Main Line Health’s Lankenau Hospital became the second hospital in the Philadelphia region and the 17th nationwide to acquire the BSD 500 hyperthermia system for heat therapy. Clinical trials have shown that combination heat therapy can enhance the therapeutic benefit of radiation or chemotherapy. We are one of only three centers in the region with this capability.

Reconstructive surgery of the breast

For women choosing reconstructive surgery, we offer the latest in autologous tissue reconstruction (using tissue from a patient’s body).

  • DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) and SEIA (superficial inferior epigastric artery) flap reconstruction – Both DIEP flap and SEIA flap reconstruction use the lower abdominal skin and fatty tissue to reconstruct a natural, soft breast following mastectomy.
  • Gluteal flap reconstruction – This procedure uses tissue from the buttocks, including the gluteal muscle, to create a new breast shape.
  • TUG (transverse upper gracilis) flap reconstruction – This procedure uses tissue from the inner portion of the upper thigh (just under the groin crease to construct a natural, soft breast.