Early detection important in breast cancer treatment


Editor’s Note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Nebraska Cancer Specialists partners with the Fremont Tribune to bring important information to readers. This is the first story in a four part series about breast cancer.

dr Kirsten Leu knows the crucial role early detection plays in the treatment of breast cancer.

“When we detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, we significantly increase the chances of recovery and have a higher chance of avoiding more intensive therapy, such as more extensive surgery or chemotherapy,” said Leu, medical oncologist at Nebraska Cancer Specialists.

Leu emphasizes the importance of screening.

“The screening is very important if there is a cancer so that we have the highest possible chance of identifying this cancer if it is still curable,” said Leu.

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Statistically, 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

“It’s much better to deal with it when it’s curable rather than waiting for it to metastasize, because then the cancer isn’t usually considered curable,” Leu said.

According to the NCS, it’s important for people to know if they have a higher than usual risk of breast cancer.

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Those who are at higher risk need to talk to their doctor about when to start breast cancer screening and whether genetic testing is right for them.

From the age of 40, women can start annual breast cancer screening with mammography.

A genetic risk assessment can help patients and their families understand inherited cancer risks that can be passed from parent to child.

NCS has a team of geneticists who can explain available genetic tests and what they mean. They can give advice on a patient’s risk of developing certain types of cancer.

They can also provide information and support about cancer screening, prevention, diagnosis and treatment options. You can discuss how to talk to family members about cancer risk.

Those wishing to meet with a genetics expert can call 402-691-6977.

NCS has different types of oncologists and treatments to help patients.

For example, medical oncologists are internal medicine specialists who have specialized training and focus on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They have extensive knowledge about the different signs and symptoms of cancer and different treatment methods.

Radiation oncology is a common cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles such as X-rays, gamma rays, and electrons

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Radiation or protons to completely damage or destroy cancer cells.

According to NCS, a scan determines the proper course of radiation treatment for a patient’s specific cancer.

Scans can include MRI, CT, and PET-CTs.

Once it has been determined that radiation is a good treatment option, the patient will see their radiation oncologist regularly to assess side effects, address concerns, and assess progress.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, radiation therapy may be used in combination with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

NCS also uses a new oncology service that creates tumor profiles. This involves a focused treatment approach that specifically targets an individual patient’s tumor. This type of treatment increases the likelihood that the patient will respond positively to therapy.

NCS health experts also encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of cancer.

Stay away from tobacco products

  • . Tobacco use or exposure to tobacco smoke can cause cancer and other health problems.

Reach a healthy weight

  • . Controlling weight through healthy eating and exercise can help prevent cancer risks. Individuals need to avoid excessive weight gain and control their calorie intake.
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  • . Adults should aim for at least 150 to 300 minutes of physical activity per week. This may include going for walks, gardening, a game of pickleball, cleaning the house, or playing with grandkids.
  • . Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. Avoid sugary drinks and processed foods.

Limit alcohol consumption

  • . Those who drink should plan to consume seven or fewer alcoholic beverages per week.

Those who need cancer treatment can find help from NCS oncologists like Leu.

The medical oncologist values ​​her patients and said it’s an honor to be a cancer doctor.

“I strive to treat my patients with respect and compassion and am committed to providing excellent clinical care while giving them as much information and time as they need,” Leu said. “After reviewing the available treatment options and my rationale for recommending a specific treatment plan, we decide together how to proceed.”

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