Your Care Team

Toni Schubbert, RN

Clinical Oncology Nurse
Breast Center
Building 56 Route 81#246c

1. What 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.

2. Why 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.

3. How 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.

4. What 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.

5. What 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 chemotherapy.

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