While one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, dramatic advances have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease. We can now test each patient’s tumor for molecular and genetic changes. This allows us to understand the exact biologic process taking place and better choose the medications and therapies that are targeted directly for that cancer. Some call this personalized medicine, some call it precision medicine and some call it targeted therapy. Regardless of the name, the result is breast cancer has an excellent survival rate when caught early.
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We Pacific Northwesterners love our sun. After a long wet winter, summer calls to us with all the beauty our great outdoors has to offer. Outside we go, many of us to soak up a little sun – but be careful, our region has one of the highest incidences of melanoma in the United States. We’re not quite sure why that is but we’re definitely sure everyone can reduce their risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers with some sun safe precautions.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people being diagnosed annually. That’s higher than the incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. It’s the 5th most common cancer in men and the 7th in women.
Some individuals are born with genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. These mutations may be inherited from either a mother or a father. While simply having a genetic mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer, it does increase your risk. The good news is lifestyle alterations, medication and preventive surgery can reduce the risk for developing hereditary cancer.
Compass Oncology’s groundbreaking Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) program is a leader in personalized cancer-risk reduction. Our goal is to guide you through the often confusing process of deciding if genetic testing is appropriate and help you determine if you have a genetic mutation that puts you at risk for cancer.
Compass Oncology is a leading referral source for cancer-specific clinical trials in the region. Clinical trials are research studies designed to develop new and better cancer treatment therapies. At any given time, Compass has more than 50 active clinical trials, including many that are not available elsewhere in the Portland-Vancouver area.
In this new era of targeted therapies, the role of clinical research is more important than ever in providing patients with access to the latest in cancer treatments. They are responsible for many of the great strides in what we know as standards of cancer treatment today.
If you’ve been told you have an increased risk for developing breast cancer, regular follow-up with a breast cancer specialist is essential and the first step to risk reduction strategies and active monitoring. Compass Oncology’s Complex Breast Clinic was founded to provide focused care for patients with inherited gene mutations and other complex breast issues including:
Today, women undergoing mastectomies for breast cancer have the advantage of significant advances in reconstructive breast surgery and leading-edge oncoplastic techniques that allow the skilled breast surgeon to preserve the envelope of the breast and sometimes the nipple for exceptional cosmetic outcomes.
The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman. There are numerous misconceptions about who is likely to get breast cancer. Allow us dispel some of these breast cancer myths.
4 Myths About Your Risks for Developing Breast Cancer
We all know that early detection of breast cancer saves lives yet many women often take a “wait and see” attitude when they notice a change in their breasts. We’re busy. We think it will go away. Oh, it’s probably nothing. Why take that chance? The experts at Compass Oncology and survivors everywhere urge you to see your doctor immediately if you notice:
If you ask most Americans if talking to their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, not surprisingly 90% will say yes. What is surprising is how few people actually have the conversation. Why? Because it’s a tough conversation to start.
So let’s talk. The fact is Advance Care Planning is for everyone, not just those with life limiting illness. Whether you are young or old, in good health or ill, advance care planning is just good healthcare. It answers the central question of who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. It helps define the values that are most important to you and what medical treatments you would want. Without a plan your family and healthcare team may not know your wishes.