A Personalized Approach to Breast Cancer Treatment


If you are concerned about your breasts or have been diagnosed with breast cancer, the last thing you are looking for is a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. When searching for breast cancer treatment in Houston, you will be focused on finding the doctor who provides the most personalized approach. The good news is, today, testing for dozens of biomarkers means oncologists can fine-tune breast cancer treatments in ways not even dreamed of “just an eye-blink ago.”

Personalized Medicine


There is no standardized definition for personalized medicine (also called precision medicine.) In general, it describes either tailoring or adapting the treatment of any disease, including breast cancer, to give the most effective treatment for the individual patient.

For personalized breast cancer treatment in Houston, contact Breast Institute Houston.

A Genome Magazine article on personalized medicine and breast cancer describes the case of a patient who was successfully treated in this manner. The author writes, “A disease is analyzed at the molecular level. The analysis identifies a drug target. The drug gets delivered where it needs to go. The patient gets better. And while this hopeful scenario has yet to become commonplace, it is becoming more and more the norm for many breast cancer patients.”

Information Gathering

Doctors practicing personalized medicine use information gathering techniques to help them adjust their treatment plans. Some types of information they gather include:

  • Genetic information
  • Lifestyle factors and other personal information
  • Molecular characteristics of the disease

Goals of Personalized Medicine

While the goal of any medical treatment is to be effective, the point of practicing personalized medicine is to enhance results while avoiding unnecessary treatment.

Enhancing Results

Doctors use therapies that target specific tumors – or specific cellular pathways that lead to tumor growth. Patients are then matched with treatments that their breast cancer will best respond to.

Patients may also be selected for certain treatments based on personal factors, including whether they have entered menopause. Most factors that determine treatment are related to the tumor itself, however.

More about Factors that Affect Treatment and Prognosis

Avoiding Unnecessary Treatment

Treatments for Breast Cancer

When receiving breast cancer treatment in Houston, you may undergo:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy

All of these have risks as well as side effects. By avoiding unnecessary treatments, patients avoid some of these risks and side effects.

Targeted Drug Therapies

Some cancer drugs are designed to target and attack particular cancer cells or cellular pathways. For early and locally advanced breast cancer, they include trastuzumab and pertuzumab. For metastatic breast cancer treatment, more targeted therapies are available including tyrosine-kinase inhibitors and poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.

Looking Towards the (Near!) Future

Treatment continues to become more tailored. Diagnostic tests are becoming more detailed and may even predict side effects of treatments like chemotherapy or radiation in the near future. They will also, of course, give more exact guidance in choosing the drug or combination of drugs most likely to cure the cancer.

For patients with advanced and/or aggressive cancers, genomic discoveries may be able to help even when the latest treatments often fail. “In these ways and many others, breast cancer prevention, treatment, and care are a microcosm of the slow but inevitable shift in healthcare.”

“Why do some cancers react to certain drugs and not to others? Why might a cancer become resistant to a drug? How can we predict these outcomes and changes? How do we choose a therapy that is just right for a particular patient? These are the kinds of questions researchers will try to answer in coming years.” –Heather Millar, Genome Magazine

Personalized Breast Cancer Treatment in Houston

Breast Health Institute of Houston is your choice for personalized breast cancer treatment in Houston. We are a private surgical practice, dedicated exclusively to patients with malignant and benign breast disorders. At the lead is Darlene Miltenburg, MD, founder. Dr. Miltenburg has practiced breast surgery in academic and hospital-based settings for over 20 years, and with “an unbearable compassion for suffering,” has “the need to do the right thing, every time.” Contact Breast Health Institute of Houston today!

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