Breast cancer is cancer that develops in cells within the breasts. After skin cancer, it is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Although far more common in women, men can be diagnosed with the disease as well. Breast cancer develops in breast tissue, usually in milk ducts or glands. It starts as a malignant tumor, a cluster of abnormal cells, which can grow and invade surrounding healthy tissue. Eventually the cancer can enter the blood stream or spread to other areas of the body. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. Localized tumors, caught before the cancer spreads, can almost always be treated successfully.
The UAB Medicine cancer program is ranked among the best in the nation. Patients who come to UAB Medicine for breast cancer treatment have access to the full array of specialists within our system, including medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists, certified oncology nurses, nurse navigators, reconstructive surgeons, and more.
UAB Medicine's Breast Health Center is unique in that we deliver the full range of breast health services including screening, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and research. Through our Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Program for Women's Cancer, we also offer comprehensive risk assessments and prevention strategies for breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer, arming women with knowledge to make informed decisions about their cancer risk and care. For women whose cancer is now in remission, our Breast Cancer Survivorship Clinic provides the ongoing medical and emotional support they need to remain healthy long after their treatment has come to an end.
As a part of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, our innovative Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic utilizes a team of dedicated breast specialists to help patients evaluate their options as effectively as possible, which also allows patients and their families to meet with our various team members in one convenient visit. This approach facilitates better communication among team members, patients, and their families. Each patient is evaluated initially by one of our breast specialists before meeting face to face with other team members to discuss long-term treatment planning. Individualized care plans are developed in roundtable discussions and discussed with the patient and family members during the same visit, which allows questions to be asked of each team member.
The UAB Integrative Medicine Clinic features a collaborative approach to patient care among multiple practitioners and utilizes therapies that are proven in both traditional and complementary health care. Integrative medicine combines traditional medical care with programs designed to address the physical, biological, lifestyle, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of health and illness. It focuses on the whole person, including family members, to optimize wellness and manage the challenges throughout each patient’s chronic disease or cancer care journey, from prevention to survivorship and beyond. It encourages the human capacity for healing and emphasizes the relationship between practitioner and patient.
Proton International at UAB
Proton International at UAB is Alabama’s first and only proton therapy center. Rather than traditional radiation, the center uses protons to reduce the dose to the healthy surrounding tissue and nearby organs, which leads to fewer side effects, better long-term outcomes, and improved quality of life in many patients.