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Do Men Need to See a Genetic Counselor?

August 9, 2016

Some individuals are born with genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. These mutations may be inherited from either a mother or a father. While simply having a genetic mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer, it does increase your risk. The good news is lifestyle alterations, medication and preventive surgery can reduce the risk for developing hereditary cancer.

Compass Oncology’s groundbreaking Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) program is a leader in personalized cancer-risk reduction. Our goal is to guide you through the often confusing process of deciding if genetic testing is appropriate and help you determine if you have a genetic mutation that puts you at risk for cancer.

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Clinical Trials

August 9, 2016

Compass Oncology is a leading referral source for cancer specific clinical trials in the region. Clinical trials are research studies designed to develop new and better drug therapies. At any given time, Compass has more than 50 active trials, including many that are not available elsewhere in the community.

In this new era of targeted therapies, the role of clinical trials is more important than ever in providing patients with access to promising new therapies. They are responsible for many of the great strides that have been made in effective cancer treatment.

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When Should You See a Complex Breast Specialist?

August 8, 2016

If you’ve been told you have an increased risk for developing breast cancer, regular follow-up with a breast cancer specialist is essential and the first step to risk reduction strategies and active monitoring. Compass Oncology’s Complex Breast Clinic was founded to provide focused care for patients with inherited gene mutations and other complex breast issues including:

  • Dense breast tissue shown on imaging
  • A lump you can feel that doesn’t show up on imaging
  • Nipple discharge
  • Inflammatory lesions
  • Atypia (an accumulation of abnormal cells in the breast which increases the risk of developing cancer)
  • Adenosis (enlarged breast lobules with more glands than usual)

To schedule an appointment at the Compass Complex Breast Clinic, please call 503.297.7403 in Portland or 360.944.9889 in Vancouver. Learn more about Compass Breast Specialists.

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Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgery

August 5, 2016

Today, women undergoing mastectomies have the advantage of significant advances in reconstructive breast surgery and leading-edge oncoplastic techniques that allow the skilled breast surgeon to preserve the envelope of the breast and sometimes the nipple for exceptional cosmetic outcomes.

Oncoplastic breast cancer surgery combines the optimal techniques of breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery to give patients an appealing outcome. Women who undergo successful oncoplastic breast cancer surgery have higher self-esteem and a more positive self-image than women who have a traditional mastectomy. Oncoplastic techniques are also used in breast conserving surgery or lumpectomy.

Some of the benefits of oncoplastic breast cancer surgery include:

  • A wider margin around the cancer can be removed for better cancer control
  • Breast tissue in both breasts can be reshaped providing symmetry between the breasts
  • The nipple may be repositioned if necessary

All Compass breast surgical oncologists are highly skilled in oncoplastic breast cancer surgery. To learn more about your options for oncoplastic breast cancer surgery, call our Compass Breast Specialists team:

Portland – 503 297 7403

Vancouver – 360 944 9889

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer

Common Misconceptions about Breast Cancer Risk Factors

August 4, 2016

The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman. There are numerous misconceptions about who is likely to get breast cancer out there.

Many women often think they can’t get breast cancer unless they’re old.
The fact is almost one quarter of women are diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50.

Women often think they can’t get breast cancer if it doesn’t run in their family.
The truth is the vast majority of breast cancers are not the result of an inherited gene mutation. That’s why it’s important to start mammograms at age forty and have them regularly. It’s the changes in the breast over time that help the radiologist find breast cancers.

Too many women put off having their mammogram because they are afraid of what they may find. The truth is when diagnosed early breast cancer has more than a 95% survival rate.

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

August 2, 2016

We all know that early detection of breast cancer saves lives yet many women often take a “wait and see” attitude when they notice a change in their breasts. We’re busy. We think it will go away. Oh, it’s probably nothing. Why take that chance? The experts at Compass Oncology and survivors everywhere urge you to see your doctor immediately if you notice:

  • A new lump or mass
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast even if you don’t feel a lump
  • Pain in the breast or nipple
  • Nipple discharge
  • Nipple retraction or turning inward
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast tissue

We can’t stress enough that any new mass should be evaluated by a doctor skilled in breast cancer diagnosis. It’s a misconception that if the lump isn’t painful, it doesn’t need to be checked. Even though it’s true a mass that’s painless and hard with irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, breast cancers can be tender, soft or rounded, even painful. 

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer

Let’s Talk About End-of-Life Care

May 31, 2016

If you ask most Americans if talking to their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, not surprisingly 90% will say yes. What is surprising is how few people actually have the conversation. Why? Because it’s a tough conversation to start.

So let’s talk. The fact is Advance Care Planning is for everyone, not just those with life limiting illness. Whether you are young or old, in good health or ill, advance care planning is just good healthcare. It answers the central question of who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. It helps define the values that are most important to you and what medical treatments you would want. Without a plan your family and healthcare team may not know your wishes.

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Improving the Care of the Person as Well as the Disease

May 31, 2016

The ripple effect of cancer touches every aspect of a life, emotional, psychological, social and financial. At Compass we know we achieve the best care for our patients when we give them support in every way. The Compass social worker team is all about providing that support to improve the care of the person as well as the disease.

What makes our oncology social workers unique is that they are active members of the care team always ready to assist. The support they provide takes many forms from the practical to the emotional and the spiritual. Their focus is on the issues that are so important to quality of life during and after treatment. We encourage our patients to take advantage of this resource.

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