October- Breast Cancer Awareness month- prompts a look at treatment advances. A Casper Oncologist comments on new practices improving the outcomes for some women with the disease.

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A more tailored approach to the treatment of Breast Cancer is one of the advances made in treating the disease that effects 1 in 7 women.

"Doing that, in a way,  sort of maximises the likelihood of decreasing the risk of recurrence."

Dr. John Purviance,  a radiation oncologist at Rocky Mountain Oncology says,  "that's been something that's come about in the last three years and has really had a big impact in our ability to try to cure breast cancer.  In a way, we do the least amount of either chemotherapy or endocrine therapy necessary."

Purviance says another advance comes with better understanding of how to surgically address the disease using lumpectomy and mastectomy "and our ability at identifying how to excise the full extent of the disease with a lumpectomy, and sort of minimize the amount of surgery, has been really an important step."

Purviance points out that, in Wyoming, radiation treatment is often a challenge for the patient, because of distances traveled. Typical daily treatment can last for six weeks.

"We have patient coming in from Lander into Casper, from Thermopolis, pretty far afield."

Partial breast irradiation, another advancement for women at lower risk, is making it possible to shrink that treatment time significantly.

Purviance  says he recognizes the controversy around mammographic screening, but he joins colleagues at the Wyoming Department of Health in encouraging women over 50 to consider screening every two years.