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Breast Cancer Diagnosis & Staging

After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis, What Happens Next?

Our team of health care professionals specializes in providing rapid evaluation and expert opinions to newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients.

If you were seeing your primary care doctor or your gynecologist when your breast cancer was diagnosed, now you will be referred to a surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist or some combination of these doctors. Morton Plant Mease has eight radiation oncologists on staff, as well as the only three fellowship-trained surgical oncologists in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Treatment recommendations from this team of top-notch physicians may include surgery, drug therapy and/or radiation therapy. All care will be coordinated by your team of doctors, with prompt feedback being provided to your referring physician.

Why is This Course of Treatment Being Recommended?

One of the most important factors in planning your course of treatment is identifying what stage your breast cancer is in. Staging is the method doctors use to describe the extent of breast cancer. A cancer's stage - denoted as a number from 0 to IV - is based on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. The higher the number, the more the cancer has spread within the body.

To determine your cancer stage, your team will consider your medical history, conduct a careful physical examination and review the results of any imaging studies or biopsies you've had. Additional tests, such as imaging and blood work, may be ordered. Oftentimes, the stage isn't fully known until after you've had surgery.

How Soon Will My Treatment Get Underway?

Timely treatment is key to achieving the best possible patient outcomes. That's why our coordinated approach to patient care emphasizes quick assessment and implementation of the specific services you need. For instance, you might learn your biopsy results, have a "port-a-cath" inserted and start receiving chemotherapy all prior to your surgery.

We also strive to make your treatment as seamless as possible by housing our cancer services in close proximity to one another at each of our hospital campuses. For instance, at Morton Plant Hospital, chemotherapy is offered at Powell Pavilion while radiation therapy is provided right across the street at Lykes Radiation Pavilion.

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get the care you need, so you can concentrate on feeling better.  

Want to learn more? No one knows more about what it's like to undergo treatment for breast cancer than actual breast cancer patients. At Morton Plant Breast Cancer Journals, we bring you the stories of three breast cancer survivors — in their own words — and invite you to experience their journeys from diagnosis to recovery.