It’s breast cancer. That’s news no one every wants to hear, but every year, about 245-thousand women are given that diagnosis. For them, it’s just the beginning of a long journey. This week we talk about what comes next for those patients.
The moment a patient finds out they have breast cancer can be overwhelming. Oncologist, Dr. Amelia Zelnak says, “people just have so many questions about what is the right path forward.” Especially with so many decisions and specialists involved. “the first physician they typically meet with would be the breast surgeon, who is going to be talking with them about how do we take this cancer out, how do we approach the overall treatment.”
According to Zelnak, the type of breast cancer the patient has, not just the stage, will determine their treatment. She says, “when a patient finds out they have breast cancer initially, they may not even have that information back yet. And then as it comes in they get a clearer picture of what their treatment plan is going to look like.” Zelnak goes on to say advancements in the last two decades have made it possible for highly individualized treatment plans, greatly improving patient outcomes. “So as they gain more information about their prognosis, many of them would be reassured about ‘oh, this is going to be a tough road’, but then at the end of it, I really have an outstanding prognosis.”