Breast Cancer Q&A with Cancer Treatment Centers of America Dr. Dennis Citrin

by Haley Rothwell / Jun 30, 2017 / 0 comments

Breast cancer ranks among America's most prevalent forms of the disease. Fortunately, treatments continue to improve in ways that reduce its harmful effects. Doctor Dennis Citrin helps women with this illness at a Cancer Treatment Centers of America facility in Illinois. He treats patients and conducts clinical research that benefits doctors around the world. During a recent interview, Citrin answered several questions about diagnosis and treatment methods.

Q. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this important issue. First, let's talk about early detection. What symptoms should prompt women to take action?

A. I encourage every woman to perform a monthly breast examination. If the flesh changes in any unusual way, quickly visit a physician with cancer expertise. This disease often causes lumps to form. However, keep in mind that they can materialize for other reasons. Breast cancer may also develop without triggering any significant physical symptoms, so it's vital to schedule mammograms.

Q. What behaviors or physical attributes increase the likelihood of this disease?

A. When a woman undergoes menopausal hormone therapy or drinks alcoholic beverages frequently, she faces a greater risk. The same holds true if she has family members who suffer from ovarian or breast cancer. Nevertheless, numerous women develop the disease without having any traits that predispose them to it. Physicians diagnose it in about 12 percent of American women.

Q. If a doctor conducts a biopsy and finds breast cancer, what happens next? How do the medical professionals at CTCA treat it?

A. I urge women to avoid panicking and take the time to carefully evaluate multiple treatment options. Doctors successfully cure most women if detection occurs before the disease reaches an advanced stage. Furthermore, medical oncologists can frequently accomplish this by using non-surgical methods. Surgery isn't necessary as often as it was a decade ago, and more precise diagnostics help CTCA personalize treatments to suit each patient's specific needs.

Q. Many women fear the loss of their breasts and hair. Do recent improvements in chemotherapy and surgery reduce the negative impacts associated with treatment?

A. Radiation therapy and surgical operations have made considerable advancements in a relatively short period of time. Likewise, CTCA patients now benefit from better cancer medications. Mastectomies no longer prove necessary for the majority of women with this disease. Doctors normally don't need to remove entire breasts unless a certain gene exists or tumors occupy a sizable portion of the tissue. It's important to realize that mastectomies and smaller lumpectomies deliver equivalent long-term remission rates.

Q. How have treatments changed in other ways?

A. Today, physicians try to avoid excessively invasive treatments. We also strive to customize solutions for specific patients based on their physical traits and tumor characteristics. Cancer Treatment Centers of America doctors often treat women in two separate ways. We use chemotherapy or medications to fight cancer throughout the body. At the same time, it's crucial to directly target breast tumors. I also examine armpit lymph nodes because this type of disease frequently affects them.

Q. Finally, how should women handle the diagnosis and treatment process?

A. When women notice any breast tissue irregularities, they ought to remain calm but schedule medical appointments right away. Speak to an oncologist and a surgeon if a doctor finds breast cancer. Compare the different solutions that these two professionals offer. During treatment, be sure to take all of the physician's advice seriously and avoid delaying operations or therapy sessions.

Read more about Cancer Treatment Centers of America on