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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 1 - Introduction

Treatment Introduction
In recent years, due to earlier detection and more effective treatments, many women diagnosed with breast cancer overcome the disease and go on to live healthy lives.

Treatment Options Recommended By Your Health Care Provider
It’s important to understand the different types of treatment options available to you, because you are an integral part of your decision-making team. Your medical team will advocate certain treatments, but they will also seek your input.

They will recommend a plan based on:
- Stage of cancer and whether or not it has spread
- Type of cancer, and status of the estrogen, progesterone, or HER2/neu receptors found in the cancer cells
- Your age, health, and menstrual/menopausal stage
- And whether or not this is your first cancer treatment

In general, there are five treatment options, and most treatment plans include a combination of the following:
1) Surgery
2) Radiation
3) Hormone Therapy
4) Chemotherapy
5) Targeted Therapies

Some are local, targeting just the area around the tumor with surgery or radiation. Others are systemic, targeting your whole body with cancer-fighting agents such as chemotherapy.

Most women receive a combination of treatments, but each case is unique, and your medical team will work to find the most effective treatment for you.

Getting A Second Opinion
Even so, you may find yourself second-guessing their recommendations or suggested treatment plan. If you’re hesitant for any reason, you should get the opinion of another doctor before beginning treatment. Your doctor will not mind if you want a second opinion; some insurance plans even require it.

Again, don’t hesitate to ask your medical team questions. When it comes to getting a second opinion, you are your own best advocate.

Related Questions

  • Susan Green Profile

    Is anyone taking anastrozole and what are your side effects?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Mary Ann Eisenberg Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I am taking it now. One mg a day. I have no side effects. I had Stage three Breast Cancer. Had mastectomy in September, diagnosed end of August. Did not have to have chemo or radiation. Cancer free yippee!

      1 comment
    • Lisa Cefaratti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I was diagnosed in July of 2009, total Right mastectomy on 9/14/09, followed by 4 rounds of chemo which started in the end of October 2009 and ended in February of 2010. I started on Tamoxifen because I was not menopausal until I started chemo, but was not post-menopausal until this past...

      more

      I was diagnosed in July of 2009, total Right mastectomy on 9/14/09, followed by 4 rounds of chemo which started in the end of October 2009 and ended in February of 2010. I started on Tamoxifen because I was not menopausal until I started chemo, but was not post-menopausal until this past November. My Oncologist switched me from Tamoxifen to Anastrozole. I was on it for about 4 months and I started having a lot of pain and swelling in my hands and feet, also i cold not sleep at night. The insomnia was so bad, I went almost 4 nights without sleeping. I had terrible headaches, and very bad confusion. I could not concentrate or multitask...it was awful!! I went to my doctor and she took me off the Anastrozole and wanted to see me in two months. When I went two months later, she put me on another A.I. (aromotase inhibitor), that was similar to Anastrozole, but chemically a little different. Well, long story short, I did not tolerate that either. So she was going to put me back on Tamoxifen, but I lost my medical benefits, and my job, and I can't afford the medication out of pocket. I did some research and found that chrysin, a flavonoid found in passionflower, has aromotase inhibitor action. Taken with piperine adds to the effects.

      Nature has provided an abundance of aromatase inhibitors

      You don't have to take drugs to inhibit aromatase. Nature has provided plants that will get the job done without harmful side effects. In April, Natural News ran an article about the powerful aromatase inhibiting ability of chrysin (http://www.naturalnews.com/026086.html), a flavonoid from the passion flower plant. Research showed that chrysin worked as well to inhibit the aromatase enzyme as a drug designed for that purpose. Chrysin is normally taken as a supplement along with piperine which greatly enhances its bioavailability.

      Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/026514_cancer_breast_natural.html#ixzz21EjM5XR8

      This was one of my sources. The anastrozole is over $600.00 per month out of pocket, and the passionflower suspension only costs $12.00 per month supply. I get it at Whole Foods.

      Some people feel more comfortable with modern medicine, but if there are herbs that do the same thing, I'm all for that. In hindsight, I never would have done chemo.
      Good luck to all my sisters, whatever you choose to do for yourself, remember it IS YOUR CHOICE!!!!!

      Comment
  • tamara carr Profile

    I have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, stage 1. What is the best course or treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too...

      more

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too widespread. She had a mastectomy and will be having reconstruction, no chemo.
      Your treatment plan depends on a lot of things on a cellular level. No two women's treatment plans seem to be the same. The pathology may be similar, with the same overall diagnosis but the treatment plans depend on that microscopic detection. Good luck to you! Sharon

      Comment
    • Jodie Brummet Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 last year. I was able to have lumpectomy followed by radiation. I am premenopausal and take Tamoxifen. I also had negative genetic test. Ask many questions and you will find what is the best treatment path for you.

      Comment
  • terri valiente Profile

    Has anyone had proton therapy in place of radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Linda Burke Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Terri, I just finished a course of HDR Brachytherapy , which is a form of proton therapy. I had a Savi catheter inserted into my left breast by a surgeon, and then received high dose radiation directly through that catheter into my left breast. I was able to receive higher doses of radiation...

      more

      Terri, I just finished a course of HDR Brachytherapy , which is a form of proton therapy. I had a Savi catheter inserted into my left breast by a surgeon, and then received high dose radiation directly through that catheter into my left breast. I was able to receive higher doses of radiation but again, only into the space where my tumor was. This meant I didn't have radiation anywhere else in my body. I had to go twice a day, 6hours apart, so at 830am and again at 230pm for the radiation. The radiation lasted 7 minutes. In 5 days, I was done. The catheter was removed at my last treatment and was painless. This type of radiation has been around for 9 years, and is fairly common, but many women do not know to ask for it, and many doctors do not think to offer it, especially if the hospitals are not equipped to deliver this type of radiation. God forbid, but if I were ever to need radiation in that left breast again, say another lump was found, I could have it again, which you could not if you have traditional radiation. I would recommend this type of radiation to everyone. The catheter was a bit cumbersome, but 5days versus 6 weeks was definitely an advantage. Good luck to you. With this type of radiation, you have it done Before you start chemotherapy ,not the traditional afterwards because the catheter insertion is done either at the lumpectomy, or right afterwards . My best wishes to you.

      3 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I don't know of anyone having gone through this type of treatment. I just "googled" it and quickly found a study being done.Good luck to you, Terri!
      http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00614172

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How soon after chemo and radiation is done do the doctors usually require a baseline mammogram?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My doctor said 6 months after all treatment is done. He said that I could do it at 3 months, but there is more of a chance to get a false positive result, which would only cause worry. I'm not sure if that is the "normal" timeframe.

      Comment
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I am getting my first baseline post treatment mammo 6months after rads done.

      Comment

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