Dedicated to the care of breast cancer and all breast conditions
Dr Sarah Rayne is no longer practising in
Johannesburg and this practice is closed.

These pages are for information only,
and current only until 2018
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Managing breast cancer  
If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can be plunged into a place where people talk about different treatments and problems and it is often hard to know where to start. There are many great resources available to help you (links to some are found here) but having a good multi-disciplinary team specialised in dealing with breast cancer is essential. Make sure you get all the opinions you need to make the right choices.

Multidisciplinary teamwork
How do we treat breast cancer?
Multidisciplinary teamwork
Breast cancer management relies on a firm foundation of a multi-disciplinary team. What that means is that every doctor involved in cancer treatment should be speaking to every other doctor. The idea is that your breast cancer treatment is individualised to you, and to the ‘personality’ and stage of the cancer you have. The team involves many different specialities including the breast surgeon, the reconstructive (plastic) surgeon, a radiologist who carries out mammograms and biopsies, the chemotherapy and radiation specialists (oncologists) and a psychologist too. Right in the middle of this team is you and your family.
How do we treat breast cancer?
If you or someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer the chances are you have to spend a lot of time in different doctors’ rooms, and all the doctors will discuss different types of treatments.

Breast cancer management involves not just the breast but treatment of the whole body. This is because even very early on we know that cancer cells can be found in other organs. It is important to eradicate the cancer not just from the breast, but from the whole body. This is done using four different type of therapy often managed by different members of the multi-disciplinary team (that’s why it’s so important that they talk to each other).

These can be divided into those that affect the breast, getting rid of the cancer present either there or in the nearby lymph glands, and those treatments that seek out and destroy breast cancer cells that may be present in the rest of the body. The therapies are:
  • Local treatments to the breast:
    • Surgery
    • Radiation
  • Whole body treatments to find any cancer that has spread in the body:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Target-dependant treatments (hormonal and immunological)
Each type of treatment can be thought of completely separately (except radiation after some surgery). During cancer management, the patient will have at least one local and one whole body treatment but they might require all of the different treatment methods, depending on the type of breast cancer and the advice of the specialists.