5 ways breast cancer treatment has changed

As a nurse navigator at MD Anderson in The Woodlands, I get to connect with breast cancer patients just as they’re contacting MD Anderson for the first time to schedule an appointment. My job is to make sure I have a good understanding of the events leading up to their diagnosis and that we’re scheduling them to see the most appropriate physicians first. I also spend time educating patients about their diagnoses and what they can expect during treatment. Every person’s diagnosis is unique A patient with a new cancer diagnosis can have a lot of fears and questions related to treatment. And with breast cancer being the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, many of us have a close friend or family member who’s already been treated for this disease. So, when the word “cancer” is mentioned, all of our past experiences color how we think and feel about the disease today. That’s why I typically stress two things during my initial phone call with patients. The first is that every person’s diagnosis is unique. It’s almost impossible to compare one patient and their treatment course to another, even if they appear to have the exact same diagnosis. The second (and perhaps most important) is that we have come such a long way in the 18 years I’ve been a nurse. Researchers continue to make advances every day, so you won’t necessarily be offered the same treatment your friend or family member had 20 years — or even six months — ago. The biggest changes I’ve seen Just a few of the advances that have significantly changed how...