Breast cancer is not just one disease...
but presents itself as a broad range of syndromes. Each woman is unique and each woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer has a very specific clinical diagnosis. Every person affected by breast cancer should be treated individually and comprehensively. The goal of cancer treatment is not only to be aimed at eradicating the cancer, but at achieving a healthy and meaningful recovery after cancer treatment is completed.Dr. Oratz focuses on these key issues in her practice:
1. Specific target therapy for each individual patient: Based on the latest technological advances in molecular biology we can now better predict prognosis and response to specific therapies. These technologies allow more rational and effective treatment recommendations.
2. Women and their doctors should share in decision-making about treatment options: There is usually more than one "correct" treatment regimen. Choosing which therapeutic protocol is appropriate for any given individual patient should be a joint decision between doctor and patient.
3. Treatment should take into account, not only the clinical issues, but the personal life issues of each individual woman: Her life situation, work, family, community, expectations, beliefs and cultural background all impact on making the appropriate decision for a woman's cancer treatment.
4. Medical care should be holistic and comprehensive: including a full nutritional consultation and evaluation of movement and exercise. Breast cancer surgery and treatment has profound implications on physical well-being. Diet and exercise are an integral component of treatment and living a healthy life.
5. Sexual Health: also requires attention and should not be overlooked in women who have had treatment for breast cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy change women's bodies, their self-image and may impact their intimate relationships. Caring for the woman who has undergone breast cancer treatment means opening the door to honest conversation and meaningful interventions to address sexuality after cancer.
6. Prevention: Women with breast cancer may be at increased risk for other cancers and other medical conditions. Screening and prevention programs should be developed for each individual. If there is a significant family history then genetic counseling and testing should also be incorporated into the plan. Genetic counseling and testing for heritable susceptibility to breast cancer (BRCA mutations and other genetic syndromes) is available at The Women's Oncology & Wellness Practice. Genetic counselors from the NYU Medical Center/School of Medicine Human Genetics Program provide comprehensive consultation services and are supervised by the Director of the NYU Program.
7. Where to get more information: Here are some links which may provide more information as you work with Dr. Oratz and her team in making the treatment decision that is right for you. Many of these sites and organizations also offer good advice on coping with the cancer diagnosis and the process of going through treatment. Psychosocial resources, work and career issues, financial and insurance matters, family life, concerns about sexuality, and opportunities to share with other women like you are available through these websites. This is not a comprehensive list - but may be a good starting point for you.
www.lbbc.org (Living Beyond Breast Cancer);
www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society);