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How tailoring breast cancer treatment benefits doctor and patient

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Treating breast cancer has changed dramatically over the years thanks to new medicines and technology.

And doctors are discovering power in numbers. In fact, the team approach, meaning multiple doctors are involved in tailoring treatment for a breast cancer patient, has shown better patient outcomes.

VCU Massey Cancer Center is among the many hospitals using the team-focused approach. Since breast cancer is a complex and varied disease, multiple specialists -- radiologists, pathologists medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons and others -- can effectively treat the breast cancer patient.

These doctors meet every week to discuss the best approach to treat each patient. Because there are so many changes in each area of breast cancer specialties, the team approach can benefit both the doctor and the patient.

"If we're all communicating and talking about that individual patient we can be sure they're getting all of the options that they'll be able to choose from, latest opportunities including clinical trials,” said Dr. Douglas Arthur, a radiologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

After the team of doctors meet and present the patient will all the information, the patient can then decide what treatment option is best.

“In my world of radiation oncology, we have so many ways to treat early stage breast cancer," Dr. Arthur said. "If we don’t have an opportunity to present that up ahead of time, patients don’t know what their options are.”