The Treatment Team: An essential ingredient of a successful breast cancer treatment program is the confidence that it inspires in its patients.

There is ongoing communication between team members. In our treatment program, the initial diagnosis and treatment is typically preformed by the surgical team. In most cases, the patient will see an oncologist after the tumor and sentinel lymph node(s) have been removed.

However, it is now becoming more common for the patient to see the oncologist before a treatment plan has been selected. In many cases, we will try to shrink the breast tumor first in an effort to improve the cosmetic result of breast conservation surgery (i.e. a smaller lumpectomy volume to remove). Each newly diagnosed breast cancer patient is seen by an oncologist. After a detailed analysis of the clinical situation and a careful assessment of the patient’s personal concerns, the oncologist then formulates an individualized treatment plan.

For those patients who proceed to chemotherapy, the oncologist becomes the team leader. The oncologist supervises the chemotherapy and coordinates arrangements for radiation therapy, if needed. When treatment is completed, the oncologist provides a long-term plan for follow-up.