Cancer Treatment Centers of America
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Breast Center for Advanced Oncology

"The participation of multiple physicians around the table, talking about the patient, seeing the different perspectives, looking at the different options for the patient—I think that has been the most important advance in the treatment of cancer. Instead of one voice, you have five. Instead of two eyes, you have 10."

Our Breast Center doctors

The doctors at the Breast Center are committed to offering state-of-the-art treatments for breast cancer patients. The Breast Center is led by Breast Surgical Oncologist Dr. Anita Johnson and Breast Medical Oncologists Dr. Ricardo H. AlvarezDr. Haritha Pabbathi and Dr. John McKnight. Dr. Johnson completed her breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and is an oncoplastic surgeon with expertise in techniques like skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies. Board-certified and fellowship-trained, Dr. Alvarez, who also serves as Director of Cancer Research at Southeastern, is a former Assistant Professor of Breast Medical Oncology at The University of Texas M.S. Anderson Cancer Center, where he conducted research on inflammatory breast cancer.

Board certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology, Dr. Pabbathi earned a bachelor in medicine, bachelor in surgery from Gandhi Medical College in Hyderabad, India, then completed an internship and residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New Jersey, followed by a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. McKnight completed his medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and holds an MBA with a focus in medical management from Johns Hopkins University. 

Our Breast Center team also includes board-certified and experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeons, radiation oncologist, interventional radiologists and pathologist. Explore the menu below to learn more about each of our Breast Center doctors:

Your treatment options

Accreditations

Our nationally accredited breast program has received a three-year, full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.

With so many treatment options available, breast cancer patients face many decisions. Because the experts at the Breast Center for Advanced Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Southeastern) focus specifically on breast cancer, they have the experience to help you navigate the complexities of choosing a treatment plan tailored to your needs. With years of advanced training, our oncologists and other clinicians have expertise with the broad spectrum of diseases involved, including triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancer.

Our breast surgeons offer precise microsurgical approaches such as nipple-sparing mastectomy and reconstructive flap surgery, and our radiation oncologists employ technologies designed to reduce the risk of radiation exposure to the heart and other critical organs. The Breast Center is also involved in clinical trials on precision treatments and innovative technologies, including targeted therapies. These trials may offer participants options that may have otherwise been unavailable to them.

A comprehensive team approach

The oncologists, plastic surgeons and other doctors at the Breast Center are part of a wider team of multidisciplinary experts who understand that breast cancer is not one disease, and that no two patients have the same needs. Whether you are weighing decisions about lumpectomy vs. mastectomy, fertility preservation, breast reconstruction, family genetics or clinical trials, your Breast Center care team is committed to arming you with the information and resources to make educated decisions about your treatment. Your care team will be led by a medical oncologist with experience in breast cancer care, and your treatment plan will be coordinated by care managers dedicated to helping you handle the many details involved.

Other doctors and clinicians are assigned to your care team depending on your needs, treatment goals and side effects. For example, depending on your breast cancer type, stage and recommended treatment plan, your Breast Center team may include radiation and surgical oncologists and reconstructive plastic surgeons with advanced training in helping breast cancer patients restore their function and appearance. Clinicians with expertise in evidence-based supportive therapies are also available, as part of the whole-person focus that is at the heart of the Breast Center’s dedication to comprehensive, personalized care. All these experts work together under one roof, collaborating daily, with one another and each patient, monitoring the patient’s progress and adjusting the treatment plan when necessary.

Quality of life

Conventional treatments plus supportive therapies

Breast cancer patients may experience treatment-related side effects like lymphedema, fatigue, appetite loss, pain, mouth sores or nausea. Your care team of cancer experts may include dietitians, naturopathic providers, physical therapists, chiropractors, mind-body therapists, spiritual counselors and other supportive care clinicians to help you manage those side effects and maintain your strength, stamina and resilience, so you can reduce the risk of treatment delays.

Learn more about how integrative cancer treatment may help you manage the cancer journey.

Breast cancer clinical trials

Our medical oncologists and other Breast Center experts are committed to delivering advanced and innovative treatment options when possible. Offering qualified breast cancer patients carefully selected clinical trials in areas like immunotherapy, genomically targeted chemotherapy and other innovative research is an important part of that commitment. Clinical trials are not available to all patients. But those who qualify based on certain requirements may have access to emerging treatment options. Read our Clinical Trials Q&A to learn more. Find out about the various breast cancer trials being offered at CTCA.

Clinical trials Q & A

Who may benefit from breast cancer clinical trials?

The answer is based on a case-by-case analysis of each breast cancer patient’s situation. This is a time of rapid scientific advances in breast cancer treatment. New surgical techniques are being developed with a goal of attacking tumors while reducing the amount of trauma to healthy breast and other tissue. Meanwhile, a new generation of breast cancer therapies is designed to attack tumors that have specific genomic mutations, such as too much HER2, mTOR, CDK4 and CDK6. These new targeted treatments may be more effective and cause fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy. But they are so specialized that only a limited subset of patients qualifies for participation. Genomic tumor testing may determine whether you are a candidate. Other factors—such as your cancer type and stage, how you have responded to past treatments and other individual considerations—may also determine whether you qualify for specific breast cancer trials.

Are they only available to breast cancer patients who have exhausted other treatment options?

Breast cancer patients may qualify to participate in a clinical trial at any stage of their treatment journey. Some patients may join a clinical trial when they first start treatment, in conjunction with standard therapy for breast cancer, on the chance it may offer improved outcomes. Other trials are designed for patients who have not responded adequately to conventional treatments. Your oncologist will discuss the options and risks, and explain the various protocols involved.

How does Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) select the breast cancer trials it offers?

At CTCA®, our cancer experts never stop searching for innovative ways to treat cancer. Offering carefully selected breast cancer clinical trials helps us fulfill that mission. The new generation of precision drugs is generally designed to deliver more targeted, less toxic therapies. Our Breast Center oncologists decide to participate as a clinical trial site only after careful consideration of the relative benefit to patients.

How do I find out whether a specific breast cancer clinical trial may benefit me?

Your oncologist and Breast Center care team may recommend a trial depending on your individual needs and treatment goals. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials at CTCA. For general questions, email the clinical trials team at clinicaltrials@ctca-hope.com or contact an Oncology Information Specialist at 888-841-9129.

Learn more about ongoing breast cancer clinical trials at CTCA.
For general questions, email the clinical trials team at clinicaltrials@ctca-hope.com or contact an Oncology Information Specialist at 888-841-9129.

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