Do you have a breast lump? Are you concerned you may have breast cancer? Or have you been diagnosed with breast cancer?
These can be very unsettling feelings. But you are not alone. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Even though modern treatment has greatly improved survival and quality of life for women with breast cancer, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death for women behind lung cancer.
More than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. The survival rate for people with breast cancer is around 90 percent, and can be as high as 99 percent if the cancer diagnosed in early stages has not spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer death rates have been decreasing over the past years and there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Advances in screening, diagnosis and treatment makes breast cancer one of the most treatable cancers.
Treatment can consist of surgical removal of the breast cancer lump and affected tissue. In some cases there can be additional treatment after surgical removal, including chemotherapy or radiation, to address the cancer if it has spread outside the breast tissue.
Surgical treatment of breast cancer
The other IMPORTANT thing you should know about surgical treatment of breast cancer: There can be great variation in surgical treatment. Not all breast treatment centers are the same. Who you select for treatment will affect your surgical outcome and the cosmetic result after breast surgery. That’s because some breast surgeons can be overly aggressive and remove more breast tissue than is necessary.
The good news is that there is a new specialization called BREAST PRESERVATION SURGERY for breast cancer patients. Few breast cancer surgeons in Alaska are proficient in this new specialization as it can involve a MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAM of surgeons.
Alaska Breast Center is one of the few breast cancer centers in Alaska that is proficient in BREAST PRESERVATION SURGERY which strives to keep as much healthy breast tissue as possible and works with plastic surgeons to achieve an optimal natural appearance of a healthy breast after surgery.
Dr. Charles Portera is a board-certified general surgeon with more than 20 years of experience specializing in breast care. Dr. Portera is fellowship-trained in surgical oncology and cancer biology — the highest level of medical training in the U.S. His fellowship training was at MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston, Texas — one of the most prestigious cancer institutes in the world. Dr. Portera brings this experience to Alaska after a busy surgical oncology practice in Tennessee.
Dr. Charles Portera specializes in new surgical techniques that preserve the cosmetic appearance of the female breast, while removing the breast cancer.
BREAST PRESERVATION SURGERY involves several steps:
The cancerous tissue is removed and a pathologist near the operating room confirms that all cancerous tissue has been removed.
The surgical team — which can include Dr. Portera working with a board-certified plastic surgeon — then focuses on obtaining the best possible cosmetic outcome in breast appearance. This may include plastic surgery on both breasts to achieve the best possible cosmetic result.
During and after treatment for breast cancer, Alaska Breast Center coordinates your ongoing care with any of your existing primary care physicians, e.g. family practice, OB/Gyn, mammography center, radiology, oncologist, etc..
Alaska Breast Center is part of Alaska Surgical Group, which includes Alaska Surgical Oncology and Alaska Hernia Center. Alaska Surgical Group includes Dr. Victoria Lee Murdock, a general surgeon proficient in DaVinci Robotic Surgery, general surgery and minimally invasive hernia repair surgery. Alaska Surgical Oncology includes Dr. Charles Portera who is proficient general surgery, the removal of organ cancers and complex skin cancers, and the treatment of breast cancer with breast preservation surgery. Alaska Breast Center is based in Anchorage at Providence Alaska Medical Center with a satellite office in the Mat-Su Valley on the campus of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, in Palmer, Alaska. The Mat-Su satellite office is convenient to breast patients living in Palmer and Wasilla.