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How Women And Doctors Can Better Diagnose And Treat Breast Cancer

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Dr. Linda Bosserman discusses how a breast biopsy is formed, the best way to get involved in clinical trials, and ways to communicate with your doctor about establishing a comprehensive treatment plan. Dr Bosserman is an oncologist at San Antonio Community Hospital.

Dr. Bosserman:
For most women, whether they feel a lump or whether they have a lump found on an ultrasound or mammogram, the first step is to get a biopsy and determine whether it is cancerous, or non cancerous.

There are several ways to get a breast biopsy. Most women will have what is called a core biopsy whether either under ultrasound guidance or under mammogram guidance the doctor puts a needle in and takes a small piece of the breast tissue for diagnosis. The other way is to actually go in and take out the lump, but that is not the most common way we are doing biopsies now.

So depending on the patient’s age, their health, their preferences, their family history, and the details of their breast cancer, we have to develop a plan that covers two things; what do we do in the breast so that it does not come back in the breast and what do we do for the rest of the body in case there is any possibility that it will show up later as metastasis and that gets to hormonal blockade therapy, biologic therapy, and chemotherapy.

If we get a three generational history from every patient we can look at certain patterns that may have a high chance that that person’s breast cancer may have been because they had an inherited risk. Testing those patients with a simple buckle smear or a blood test can let them know if they have a gene we can find today.

If we can, they often have an increased risk of further breast cancers, or breast cancer in the other breast, ovary cancer, or other cancers and we can plan our strategy from the beginning to minimize all of their risk of later recurrences of other cancers, as well as the current cancer we are treating at the moment.”

Our current clinical trials in breast cancer are most often standard treatment compared to standard plus something that might make it work better. So it is really worth it to patients to ask about clinical trials, to go on the clinical trials website, and to found out if there is a clinical trial for their very particular set of information about their cancer.

If patients aren’t getting the sense that they are really getting a comprehensive care program, than I think they need to really talk with their physicians and make sure they are getting a full plan before they initiate their treatment, and that is what we specialize in here.

About Dr. Linda D. Bosserman, M.D., F.A.C.P.:
Women's health care, cancer prevention, screening, treatment and quality of life after cancer are Dr. Bosserman's primary areas of interest. While Medical Director of the Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center in Pomona California, she pioneered an integrated psychosocial oncology program and established the Breast Health Center for diagnostic services. She also directed the Comprehensive Breast Health Task Force, a multidisciplinary community coalition to evaluate and promote women's health for the diverse and multicultural residents of the Inland and Pomona Valleys.

For more information, call 909.985.3627 or visit
Women's Breast & Imaging Center at San Antonio Community Hospital

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