Charlotte oncologist discusses prevention, early detection of breast cancer

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. At all Levine Cancer Institute locations just last year, there were more than 2,400 new breast cancer patients.

Julie Fisher, MD is a medical oncologist specializing in the disease. To cut down on the risk for breast cancer, Fisher recommends maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake, and regular exercise. While a strong family history is associated with increased risk, Fisher said genetic mutations account for a small percentage of diagnosed cases of breast cancer.

“Unfortunately we can’t prevent everything so we really emphasize early detection,” Fisher said. “We advocate for that close surveillance, vigilant screening and modifying the things we can.”

For those who are diagnosed with breast cancer, Fisher said the way the disease is treated has changed greatly just over the past decade.

“We do specialized tests on breast cancer cells on tumors that are able to give us individualized information  on that specific tumor and it’s risk of returning or recurring or coming back,” Fisher said. “It’s great that we’re getting to the point where we’re not painting every patient with the same brush. We’re able to really individualize the treatments to the individual cancer in a better way, that gives people exactly what they need, that spares people treatment they might not need.”