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Breast cancer

Some breast cancers are caused by genetic abnormalities. About 10 percent of these gene mutations are passed down from parents. Environmental factors, aging and lifestyle account for most of the other cases. While rare, men can develop breast cancer, too.

Over the past 25 years, breast cancer deaths have decreased. The decline is likely due to a combination of improved treatments and early detection. We help you overcome the disease with advanced screening, diagnostic and treatment services.

What you should know about breast cancer

  • Your risk nearly doubles if you have a mother, father, sibling or child with breast cancer. The vast majority of people who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease, however.
  • You can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding red and processed meat, and limiting your alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women and two for men).

Why choose Geisinger for your breast cancer care?

  • Skilled nurse navigators: A breast cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. Our nurse navigators are specially trained in breast disease and breast cancer care. They provide support, education and scheduling assistance throughout your treatment.
  • World-renowned MyCode ® Community Health Initiative: Geisinger’s MyCode initiative collects saliva and blood from volunteers, before analyzing their genetic information. This effort helps researchers uncover abnormalities that might indicate risk for a certain disease, such as breast cancer. Volunteers are notified of useful findings and may be able to develop strategies to reduce their risk. This research project should not replace standard genetic testing for those patients with a family history suggestive of an inherited predisposition.
  • Survivorship program: People who complete their breast cancer treatment with us receive recommendations to reduce the likelihood of the disease returning.
  • Specialized clinics: We offer three specialized clinics to attack breast cancer from all sides. Our clinics include:
    • Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic (MDBC): Patients meet individually with cancer care specialists in a single afternoon. Our MDBC team reviews each case and collaboratively develops a treatment plan to be delivered by the end of the day.
    • High-Risk Breast Clinic: This clinic is for those with a family history of breast cancer, dense breasts or a concern about their personal risk factors for breast cancer. Participants receive a comprehensive evaluation of their risk and, if needed, a strategy to reduce that risk.
    • Inherited Risk Breast Clinic: Having a gene mutation (altered gene) can increase your risk for developing breast cancer. At our Inherited Risk Breast Clinic, those who test positive for these gene mutations receive care and a personalized risk reduction strategy.

Treatment options

We offer the latest advances in breast cancer treatment.

  • Radiation therapy : This treatment uses radiation (X-ray) beams to destroy cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy : Strong drugs destroy cancer cells, prevent them from spreading or slow their growth.
  • Breast surgery
  • Cancer clinical trials : Get access to potentially life-saving treatments by participating in a national clinical research study.
  • Hormone therapy : Special medications treat women with cancer cells fueled by hormones (hormone-positive cancer). These drugs help stop the cancer from spreading.

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