Treatment at the OSUCCC – James

The OSUCCC – James is a national leader in breast cancer treatment, developing some of the very latest advancements in targeting breast cancer genes — technology that is available at only a few cancer centers in the entire country. In fact, our breast cancer subspecialists actually help write national clinical guidelines for treating specific breast cancers.

Our treatment team includes nationally-renowned medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, reconstructive surgeons, breast cancer researchers, genomic experts and more — all working together as a subspecialized team to develop individualized treatment plans specifically targeting the molecular and biological makeup of your individual breast cancer. 

And as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to novel therapies that may not be available anywhere else in the United States. Additionally, the OSUCCC – James leads some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated clinical trials for breast cancer.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a breast cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Just like there is no routine breast cancer, there is no routine breast cancer treatment. Each patient’s cancer is different, and each requires personalized, targeted treatment for the very best possible outcomes.

As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to novel therapies that may not be available anywhere else in the United States. Additionally, the OSUCCC – James leads some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated clinical trials for breast cancer. 

After a patient is diagnosed with a breast cancer, treatment depends on several factors, including the following:

  • The kind of breast cancer diagnosed
  • The stage assigned to the cancer
  • The genetic and molecular make-up of the tumor
  • General health
  • Possible treatment side effects
  • Additional information our experts find out about the patient’s unique cancer

Targeted Treatment

A patient’s personalized breast cancer treatment may include one or more of the following therapies:

Breast Cancer Surgery

Your specialized breast cancer treatment experts at the OSUCCC – James may recommend surgery to remove the cancer from the breast. 

The nationally-renowned OSUCCC – James breast cancer surgical oncologists specialize in breast-conserving surgery, an operation to remove the cancer, but not the breast itself, called a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. 

Other kinds of surgery include:

Total (Simple) Mastectomy

A surgery to remove the whole breast that has cancer. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed, which is known as a sentinel lymph node biopsy, and then analyzed under a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells.

Modified Radical Mastectomy

A surgery to remove the whole breast that has the cancer, the lymph nodes under the arm called a lymph node dissection, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscle.

Chemotherapy may also be given before surgery to shrink the tumor and reduce the amount of tissue that needs to be removed during surgery. 

Even if your breast surgeon removes all of the cancer seen during the surgery, you may also be given radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy after the surgery to kill any cancer cells that may be left. 

Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery rebuilds a breast’s shape after a mastectomy. Reconstruction may either be performed at the time of a mastectomy or in the future. 

At the OSUCCC – James, our world-renowned reconstructive surgeons are expert microvascular-surgeons who work right alongside your multidisciplinary treatment team, educating and counseling the patient on the reconstructive options from the beginning of treatment. Microvascular-surgery is the premier method of breast reconstruction in which the reconstructed breast is made with the patient’s own (non-breast) tissue. 

The reconstructive procedures available at the OSUCCC – James include:

  • Implant reconstruction
  • Latissimus Dorsi Flap Surgery
  • DIEP Flap Surgery
  • TRAM Flap Surgery
  • GAP/S-GAP/SIEA Flap Surgery

In addition, women undergoing a lumpectomy can receive reconstructive surgery to minimize the cosmetic effects of that surgery.

For patients who choose to have reconstructive surgery , the OSUCCC – James reconstructive surgeons can begin reconstructing the breast during the initial surgery.

The OSUCCC – James breast reconstruction team is one of the most experienced in the nation. Together they have performed thousands of breast reconstructive surgeries and are recognized by the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM).

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Followed By Surgery

Sentinel lymph node biopsy is the removal of the sentinel lymph node during surgery. The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node that receives lymphatic drainage from a tumor and is the first place cancer may spread. 

During a sentinel lymph node biopsy, a radioactive technetium and/or a blue dye is injected near the tumor. Both flow through the lymph ducts to the lymph nodes. The first 2-3 lymph nodes to receive the dye are removed. 

An OSUCCC – James pathologist then views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are not found, it may not be necessary to remove more lymph nodes. 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.

The OSUCCC – James radiation oncology specialists are leaders in innovative radiation treatments, and the OSUCCC – James is one of only a few hospitals in Ohio to offer radiation treatments in the prone position (lying face down) to reduce radiation exposure in the chest wall, which has been linked to increased risk of heart and lung disease post-cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James also offers other leading-edge radiation treatments, including conformal imaging-based radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), MammoSite, breast brachytherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery.

In addition, the OSUCCC – James radiation oncology clinical researchers have been instrumental in a national clinical trial studying a highly targeted type of radiation therapy called partial breast irradiation. This innovative treatment option may be a convenient, effective alternative for women who are diagnosed with low-risk breast cancer and are undergoing breast conservation therapy.

The OSUCCC – James radiation oncology specialists also use a Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator (the first one in Ohio), which is recognized for its fast, precise and accurate radiation technology. This system has an advanced motion management technology that significantly reduces the amount of healthy tissue – including the heart and lungs – affected by radiation treatments.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop cancer cell growth, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. 

The breast cancer subspecialists at the OSUCCC – James offer the most advanced, targeted chemotherapy options for breast cancer, including clinical trial options. In fact, the OSUCCC – James is one of only a few comprehensive cancer centers in the country to be funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. This means we are able to offer our patients even more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options.

Anti-Hormone Therapy

Anti-hormone therapy removes hormones or blocks their action. 

Hormones are substances made by glands and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones, however, act as signals to cells, causing those cells to grow by attaching to them. If diagnostic tests show that cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs that block these receptors may help slow or even stop the cancer cells from growing. 

Tamoxifen is a hormone therapy drug often given to patients when breast cancer is caught early or sometimes when patients have breast cancer that has spread, which is called metastatic breast cancer. Tamoxifen may cause side effects, but your OSUCCC – James breast cancer specialist will help you weigh the treatment benefits vs. risks.

Another group of drugs, called aromatase inhibitors, may be given to postmenopausal women who have hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. These drugs work by blocking (or inhibiting) an enzyme called aromatase, which blocks the production of estrogen. Once the estrogen is blocked, the cells can no longer grow.  

(source: National Cancer Institute)

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a personalized drug treatment plan that your OSUCCC – James breast cancer subspecialist designs to attack, or target, cancer cells. This leaves healthy, normal cells unharmed, offering patients improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects. 

Because targeted therapy drugs tend to have less severe side effects, they are usually tolerated better than chemotherapy drugs. The OSUCCC – James develops and delivers more targeted breast cancer therapies than nearly any other hospital in the nation.  

Breast Biomarker


Breast Cancer Research & Clinical Trials

The OSUCCC – James breast cancer research scientists and medical and surgical subspecialists lead some of the world’s most advanced studies, interventions, protocols and clinical trials in breast cancer today. 

As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC – James has pioneered revolutionary discoveries in breast cancer treatments and offers patients access to ground-breaking clinical trials and novel therapies that may not be available anywhere else in the United States. 

Additionally, patients can enter clinical trials before, during or even after they’ve started their cancer treatment.

Find a Clinical Trial

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, would like a second opinion, or would like more information on clinical trials available at the OSUCCC – James, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066.

Related Video

To view James/10TV Toward a Cancer-Free World segments on breast cancer treatments, visit:

To view James/10TV Toward a Cancer-Free World segments on advances in breast cancer research, prevention, detection and cures available at The James, or to view TV segments on how we are moving Toward a Cancer-Free World, visit our blog.

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