Meet Dr. Aeisha Rivers
Breast Cancer Specialist in Dallas
No one wants to be told that she or he has breast cancer. But should you or a loved one ever hear those words, surgeon Aeisha Rivers, M.D., wants to help you make the best treatment choice possible.
“With breast cancer, there are many choices and decisions to make,” Dr. Rivers says. “I take the time to develop a real relationship with my patients. That way, I can provide them complete information about their options, and I can offer just the right amount of guidance.”
Dr. Rivers devotes her practice exclusively to the care of breast disease. She serves as Director of the Breast Surgery Clinic at Parkland Hospital, where she sees patients with every type of breast concern, including breast pain, benign lumps, and early- to advanced-stage cancer.
Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Care
Dr. Rivers, who was recognized as a Texas Monthly Super Doctor in 2014, emphasizes that her patients benefit not only from her own expertise, but from the academic medical setting in which she practices.
“My UT Southwestern colleagues include experts who are making national recommendations and leading major clinical trials,” she says. “If a standard treatment does not deliver the desired results, I can pick up the phone and ask, ‘What else can we offer?’
“Our multidisciplinary breast care team works very much like an orchestra, with instruments coming in and out in a very coordinated fashion to create and implement tailored treatment plans for our patients.”
Advances in Treatment
Breast cancer treatment plans, which typically combine chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, now usually include breast reconstruction options as well.
“At UT Southwestern, it’s not just about synthetic implants; we can often provide breast reconstruction from body fat harvested from other areas of the body,” Dr. Rivers notes. “We have some of the premier plastic reconstructive surgeons in the country, and they do a phenomenal job of making the reconstructed breast look as natural as possible.”
Amid recent advances in less invasive breast surgery techniques, a growing number of women are requesting prophylactic bilateral mastectomy – surgical removal of both breasts to minimize their risk for developing breast cancer.
“My job is to make sure the patient understands the risks, benefits, and alternatives,” Dr. Rivers says. “We can manage a fair number of our high-risk patients with intense surveillance. We also have oral medications that can lower the risk for breast cancer by up to 50 percent. But at the end of the day, if a patient wants bilateral mastectomy for her peace of mind, we have to respect that. You can't put a price on peace of mind.”
Men compose about 1 percent of breast cancer patients. Because it is so rare, Dr. Rivers and her team look for a genetic factor. UT Southwestern’s expertise in cancer genetics plays an important role in these cases.
“Once we identify a genetic mutation associated with breast cancer, we recommend that the whole family be screened,” she says.
Much of Dr. Rivers’s clinical research focuses on racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes. For example, in an upcoming study with colleague Marlyn Allicock, Ph.D., M.P.H., they will be evaluating a new “app” to encourage healthy behaviors such as regular exercise and improved nutrition for African-American breast cancer survivors. The study, open to African-American women who have completed treatment for breast cancer within the past six months, will begin enrolling patients in spring 2016. For more information, email Marlyn Allicock.