In the BAC, female breast cancer is the most common malignant tumour in women, accounting for 27% of all cases.
Its incidence in our community maintains an annual rising trend of 1.5%, with an average age of 61 when diagnosed. The positive side is that survival in the last 20 years has risen by almost 20 points, with a net survival rate after 5 years of 84.6%.
The Onkologikoa Breast Unit offers a personalised therapeutic approach, with the involvement and contribution of all of the doctors and nursing staff in the Unit. This also means the possibility of participating in new therapy innovations enabling the best possible outcomes.
Treatments for this kind of cancer
This involves removing the part of the breast around the tumour, without removing the whole gland.
This involves removing the complete mammary gland.
All patients requiring a mastectomy to treat their disease are generally offered immediate reconstruction using an expander prosthesis, although techniques involving muscle flaps, including a DIEP, may be considered in special cases.
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and anti-HER2 therapies
We apply personalised medical treatments based on chemotherapy, hormone therapy or anti-HER2 therapies. These are targeted therapies according to the behaviour of the cancer cells in the pathological studies (oestrogen and progesterone receptors, HER2 and Ki-67 proteins).
Here we use ionising radiation beams generated by radiation machines at a distance from and external to the patient (linear accelerators). This therapy is normally administered in daily sessions over several weeks. We use different external RT systems: RT3D, IMRT, and TomoTherapy.
In internal radiation or brachytherapy, the radiation is generated by small radioactive sources embedded in the tumour or diseased tissue, where it releases radiation from the inside. For breast cancer we use high-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapy. We place needles or plastic tubes in the mammary tissue connected to an apparatus containing the radioactive source. We use this technique to increase the dose in the surgical site of the breast, in one or two sessions, taking great care to protect the remaining healthy mammary tissue.
Partial breast irradiation
This consists of treating a partial volume of the breast (only the surgical site with a safety margin) in very few sessions under anaesthesia-sedation. The treatment can be completed in 5 days instead of 5-6 weeks. This is a non-standard option recommended for a selected group of patients who have tumours at the early stages with excellent prognosis. There are different techniques for this procedure. Our centre has a long background of experience in brachytherapy and has therefore introduced a protocol with multi-catheter interstitial brachytherapy.
This is intended to reduce the physical and psychological sequelae of mastectomy. We therefore endeavour to recreate as natural a looking breast as possible, including the areola and nipple. It can either be performed, or at least started, at the same time as the mastectomy or at a later date, depending on whether or not complementary radiotherapy treatment is required.