Toni Schubbert, RN
Clinical Oncology Nurse
Building 56 Route 81#246c
is your breast cancer specialty?
Management of patients under treatment;
either chemotherapy treatment or hormonal treatment. The main thing is to
recognize me as an integrator and a coordinator of different diagnostic
modalities and treatment modalities. It's important to have the patient
understand where each fits into their treatment and diagnosis program. I'm
really partly coordinator and integrator of different phases.
is this an important part of breast cancer care?
It is the essence of the care. You
also have follow-up care after the main treatment, but most people have the
most anxiety over the basic treatment; the surgery, the chemotherapy, the
hormonal treatment, planning future treatment, managing all the toxicities of
their current treatment.
This also includes integrating
different treatment modalities together; what is the timeline, how do they work
together, what are the toxicities. It's doing a lot of explaining, integrating,
and following of patients.
It also deeply involves the research
process. A lot of our patients are on research treatment protocols either
through the NSABP or through UC Irvine 's own treatment protocols. These patients are
patients of ours as well as the research group and so certainly we are involved
together with that. Right now more than half our patients on active chemo are
on a research protocol.
is this different then what might be offered in the community (outside of UC Irvine )?
The focus here is on the newest
and the best and being not afraid to be right there in front with a new drug or
new treatment idea; particularly the concept of neoadjuvant chemotherapy before
surgery for patients. This is not just for women large tumors but with tumors
as small as 1.9cm. There are good reasons to do this treatment and it is a
whole new way of looking at breast cancer that is not always embraced by
community treatment centers.
will my (the patient) experience be like?
The patient will receive a review
of what the current know state of their disease is so that they understand what
it is they have and then they should be offered their treatment options. If
there is really only one appropriate treatment to offer, it will be well
explained. In many cases there are treatment options, meaning there are
more than one way to go in initiating treatment. Certainly one of our goals is
that the patient fully understands what their treatment options are and that
they have the information necessary to make their choices. I think that's the
most important thing we can do is to help them to understand what it is they
have, what their disease is, what their treatment options are, and what the
potential toxicities and side effects of those treatments are.
current studies, or novel options within your specialty are currently available?
The most exciting thing is just to
see the remarkable response that we've had with the neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
With this treatment you can actually see tumors completely go away that were
4-5 cm in size and by the time the patient goes to surgery there is really no disease
left. It's pretty amazing to see a solid tumor go completely away just with
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