Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in both developed and developing countries. In Spain, nearly 30% of cancers diagnosed originate in the breasts. Nevertheless progress in treatment against this disease combined with campaigns encouraging early diagnosis have steadily increased recovery rates and improved disease prognosis.

On the one hand, medical advances have provided a growth in knowledge of the biology of the disease, with more pharmacological treatments targeted at each type of tumour. On the other, technological advancements have enabled increasingly accurate and safe radiotherapy. Together these have resulted in less aggressive but more effective personalised treatment.

HC Marbella’s oncology centre, HC Cancer Centre, faces this disease on a daily basis. Its specialist breast cancer team, is made up of consultants from the different fields related to breasts: gynaecologists, radiologists, surgeons, oncologists and radiation specialists among others. They investigate and study each tumour from its roots and together plan the optimal treatment for each patient.

The first step in this fight begins with prevention and early diagnosis. From adolescence, all women should attend an annual gynaecological check-up to find out which preventative measures are most appropriate in their specific case. Mammograms are recommended from age 40, Tom synthesis, or 3D mammography, can detect very small lesions which would have previously been missed, increasing cancer detection by 40%. As a result, cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, significantly improving patient survival.

HEALTH Once cancer has been diagnosed, the Breast Unit team plan appropriate personalised treatment for each patient. This treatment plan will depend largely on the biology and behaviour of the tumour.

In the early stages, when the cancer is localised, surgery or radiotherapy is the usual treatment of choice. Currently, whenever the situation allows, conservative surgery is performed removing only the tumour with an adequate margin of safety. This conservative surgery is always complemented by radiotherapy to ensure better control of the disease. “The latest radiotherapy is more precise, conformal and safe, improving treatment tolerance whilst maintaining effectiveness,” explains Paula Sedano, Radiation Oncologist at HC Marbella.

In cases where systemic treatment is necessary, we evaluate the breast tumour subtype to deliver the most appropriate treatment.

“Genomic platforms are currently being developed which aim to establish the risk of relapse and survival in each type of tumour through a genetic study. These allow identification of whether or not additional treatment is required for each individual patient,” explains Dr Victor Navarro, Medical Oncologist at HC Cancer Centre.

Each treatment has its function and its timing, its coordination by a multidisciplinary team is therefore essential. As Dr Sedeno explains,

“Our Breast Unit includes different specialists, they offer patients a complete service, including early diagnosis and treatment, guaranteeing the best treatment options, in the best environment and with the same familiar faces.”

Thanks to this progress in treatment and early diagnosis, she concludes, “We have managed to increase long-term survival rates and are one step closer to winning this battle.”

ED Gladstone
Author: ED Gladstone

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