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Breast cancer survival rates on the rise

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Survival rates for breast cancer patients are on the rise as early detection and treatment continue proving to be successful.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first drug to be used in early stage breast cancer treatment.

Perjeta is offered to patients as treatment before surgery. It's breakthroughs like this that are giving patients hope. In our area, early detection and treatment are becoming just as important.

"If I had not found it, it could have been a lot worse," says Leslie Walters, breast cancer survivor.

Walters was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of last 2012. Although she just recently completed her treatment, the care she receives will continue.

Texas Breast Specialists is expanding their Breast and Wellness Center. It aims to be a one-stop location that can provide patients with an array of services from beginning to end and even after that.

"Following our high-risk patients, to diagnosing our patients with new legions, to treatment and then to providing a good survivorship program," says Kelly Martinez, M.D., Texas Breast Specialists.

The facility also plans to offer physical therapy to breast cancer patients in the Austin area.

"I feel very, very fortunate to live in Austin and have these resources available to me and not have to go to another city. It's difficult, it is so difficult and I cannot imagine having to travel back and forth," says Leslie Walters, breast cancer survivor.

The idea behind the expansion is to increase the quality of care for patients, while also helping keep survival rates up.

Dr. Kelly Martinez says she sees anywhere from 400 to 600 new breast patients a year and diagnoses around four new breast cancers a week.

"We're seeing a large number of survivors. It is currently recommended that with all cancers, we provide those survivors with a summary of their care, show them what needs to go for follow-up in regards to surveillance so we can help them detect problems they may have in the future," says Kelly Martinez, M.D., Texas Breast Specialists.

Funding for the expansion has already been approved and the drawings are currently being finalized.

They expect construction to be completed by February. Walters says she can't wait.

"That I can get my follow-up right here where I had all my treatment," says Leslie Walters, breast cancer survivor.

She believes early detection and treatment are the answer.

"I think the most important thing you can do is to conduct self-breast exams. I found mine, my mother found hers and I have two really good friends that found theirs," says Leslie Walters, breast cancer survivor.

For more information about the expansion of the Breast and Wellness Center, contact 512-421-4100 or stop by 901 W. 38th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78705.

Our local American Cancer Society tells us in 2005 there were an estimated 40,410 deaths among women nationwide.

In 2013 they have projected around 39,620 deaths among women nationwide. That is decrease of nearly two percent within eight years.

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