Surviving breast cancer is an amazing accomplishment, but your journey may not end there. Breast cancer relapse (recurrence) occurs for 30 percent of patients. Many more experience late effects from treatment or develop secondary cancers.
At the Abramson Cancer Center, your breast cancer care does not stop when your treatment is over. Our 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence (TCE) is the only program in the country to focus on preventing, identifying and treating the issues that may arise after your initial breast cancer treatment.
Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence: Why Choose the Abramson Cancer Center
Through the 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer TCE, we address one of the greatest challenges in breast cancer treatment — the high rate of relapse and late treatment effects. Our innovative program provides personalized evaluation and care for breast cancer survivors. Our specialized center, located in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, offers:
- Nationally recognized research: We are a leader in research for recurrent breast cancer. Our in-depth laboratory and clinical research allow us to address all your breast cancer needs.
- Comprehensive care: No other program in the country focuses on breast cancer recurrence with such comprehensive measures. We assess and manage your risk, identify any recurrent cancer and develop a personalized treatment plan.
- Dedicated experts: The 2-PREVENT TCE brings together specialists from diverse fields to find a solution for recurrent cancer and late treatment effects.
- Access to clinical trials: If you are at a high risk for recurrent breast cancer or late treatment effects, our wide portfolio of clinical trials offers the latest testing and treatment options.
- Extensive genomic testing: We conduct advanced testing to understand how your recurrent breast cancer differs from your initial tumor. This helps us provide you with the best possible treatment.
- Focus on late effects of treatment: We identify and treat ongoing symptoms and problems associated with breast cancer treatment. These issues may include heart disease, osteoporosis, early menopause and leukemia. We can also direct you to appropriate clinical trials and survivorship resources for these conditions.
How We Help Breast Cancer Survivors
We know that the battle against breast cancer and its effects can be lifelong. Our long-term care program addresses cancer and concerns about treatment side effects that may arise after you've completed your breast cancer treatment.
Recurrent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cells, called seed cells, can sometimes move from your original breast tumor to other areas of your body. They travel through your bloodstream and spend some time dormant (sleeping). Those cells may never resurface again or your immune system may fight them off. They also might reactivate and spread as metastatic breast cancer. Common places for breast cancer to resurface are in the bones, liver or lungs.
We test your blood and bone marrow for those sleeping seed cells. If you have them, we may take measures that include:
- Prevention, so that sleeping cells do not reactivate as metastatic breast cancer
- Surveillance, to understand the movement and activity of sleeping cells
- Detection, to identify residual cancer "seed" cells, breast cancer "sleeper cells" or any metastatic cancer early
- Testing, to understand how your metastatic cancer differs from the original tumor
- Treatment, to effectively stop your cancer in its tracks
Late Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, may cause side effects at the time of treatment. Those side effects usually subside when treatment ends. Late treatment effects are conditions and issues that occur long after treatment ends — even decades later.
The conditions associated with late treatment effects can be serious and may include heart disease, osteoporosis and leukemia. While these potentially devastating conditions can be rare, it's important to diagnose them as early as possible.
Our experts regularly evaluate you for risk of late treatment effects. We also offer studies that identify precursors of those conditions and suggest innovative preventive measures.
Our Advanced Breast Cancer Research
Research plays a vital role in preventing, identifying and treating relapsed breast cancer. Our investigators study every aspect of this disease to provide you with innovative preventative care and treatment.
Our research efforts include:
- Cancer cell detection: We work to find breast cancer cells that moved to your bloodstream and bone marrow.
- Genomic testing: Testing allows us to understand your metastatic cancer and treat it effectively.
- Immunotherapy: We help your body's immune system recognize persistent cancer cells and attack them.
- Screening for late treatment effects: If you are at high risk for a specific late treatment effect, monitoring lets us identify and manage issues early.
Watch to Understand Research and Testing for Recurrent Breast Cancer
Led by Lewis Chodosh, MD, PhD and Angela DeMichele, MD, MSCE, the 2-PREVENT TCE is comprised of experts from across the Penn community who are all working on finding a solution to some of the most pressing issues confronting cancer patients.
Watch as Dr. DeMichele and panelists discuss the 2PREVENT clinical trials on recurrence.