Decision Making

Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer has evolved incredibly over the past 50 years.  The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines aid physicians and patients in best care practices.

Precision medicine has now replaced the “one-size-fits-all” way of treating breast cancer that your mother or grandmother may have experienced.   This means that women are asked more often than ever to participate with their physicians in making decisions about their treatment.

Women should be engaged with their care team when deciding on the best combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and endocrine therapies for them.  Decision making may seem overwhelming for some women, but your care team should welcome your questions and participation, sharing with you their expertise, and helping you find what treatment fits you and the genetic make-up of your cancer that dictates the likelihood of its spread and recurrence.

Decisions may include: 

Surgery –
  • lumpectomy or mastectomy
  • lymph node sampling
  • reconstructive surgery
  • the order of surgery with other cancer treatments
  • genetic testing prior to surgery
Medical oncology –
  • chemotherapy pros and cons
  • hormonal therapy

Please watch the video about Surgical Decision Making with Dr. Sarah P. Thayer, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology