A Gentle Touch Proves Its Power in New Breast Cancer Treatments


The thought of going every day, five days a week for seven weeks was just overwhelming. When I was presented with this shorter option, I just grabbed at it.

-Anne Broderick, patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

When her Stanford radiation oncologist, Kate Horst, MD, offered Broderick a chance at radiation therapy that would last days, not weeks, she said yes. 

Physicians knew it was out there. People also said it's been tried and didn't work. We decided we were going to do this in a way that would make it work.

-Frederick Dirbas, MD, Leader, Breast Disease Management Group, Stanford Women's Cancer Center

Broderick felt such benefit from the Healing Partners program at Stanford, she trained to be a practitioner of the hands-on therapy and now helps others.


- Breast cancer is either invasive or non-invasive. The most common type of breast cancer affecting women today is invasive ductal carcinoma. It begins in the lining of the milk duct, then moves into the surrounding breast tissue.

- Some types of breast cancer have been linked to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When hormone replacement therapy became less common, breast cancer rates began to decrease.

- Symptoms may include a lump, change in size or shape of the breast, change in the color or feel of skin and other parts of the breast. Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain; some cancers never cause any symptoms at all.

- Risk factors include age, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, early menstruation or late menopause, dense breast tissue, weight gain and obesity after menopause, not having children or having a first child after age 30.

- Diagnosis at Stanford may include an all-digital mammogram with computer-aided detection, breast MRI, ultrasound and CT scan.

- Treatment options include surgery, breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and biologics therapy. Stanford offers patients various forms of radiation therapy, including intraoperative radiation and post-operative accelerated partial breast irradiation. Stanford also offers patients a significant group of clinical trial possibilities.

- Other supportive services include nutritional counseling, a preparation for chemotherapy class, therapeutic writing, support groups, pain management, hypnosis, massage and yoga.

The way I was treated definitely contributed to my healing. It was clear to me that people cared about me.

-Anne Broderick, patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Video Transcript