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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

  • Mary Chase Profile

    Does anyone have advice? It's been 4 days after first chemo TX and I feel like I am dying a slow painful death! Spent yesterday in the ER!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mary,
      I felt the same way. In my case, it was a bad reaction to dexamethasone and I was not drinking enough water so I was dehydrated. Never be afraid to contact your oncologist and make him/her aware of what is going on. "We" don't get extra-points for extra-suffering when we don't have to. ...

      more

      Mary,
      I felt the same way. In my case, it was a bad reaction to dexamethasone and I was not drinking enough water so I was dehydrated. Never be afraid to contact your oncologist and make him/her aware of what is going on. "We" don't get extra-points for extra-suffering when we don't have to. Hang in there, keep us posted. Healing hugs, and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Christina Archambault Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Lots of hydration and sleep !!

      Comment
  • Alison Smith Profile

    Has anyone else had problems with painful sex after chemo? I have tried Replens but hasn't helped.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Alison, I 've used Replens everyday for two years(it's that safe) and a gel lubricant for senistive skin for that intimate time. It may be, you'll need more time for healing depending how far out you're from therapy. I didn't have chemo but was post menopause and the Femara has really done a...

      more

      Hi Alison, I 've used Replens everyday for two years(it's that safe) and a gel lubricant for senistive skin for that intimate time. It may be, you'll need more time for healing depending how far out you're from therapy. I didn't have chemo but was post menopause and the Femara has really done a number on me. My new norm can be uncomfortable but I found Breastcancer.org and it's site on sex and intimacy helpful. Hope you find your new comfort zone. Be persistent and don't give up. ;-D Jo

      4 comments
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Talk to yor gyno and your doctor. My onc kind of blushed but his nurse was a wealth of information. I'm a very traditional woman(wink wink) experiment I know 1 woman who used olive oil. We women who are estrogen have a tough to road in this atea

      Comment
  • beth poyner Profile

    I am set to have a one step nipple saving double mastectomy on 8/24. Has anyone had this procedure and if so did you have any complications?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      I had this surgery on July 6th. It went great! I had an excellent surgeon and plastic surgeon. I went with silicone implants. They are safe and the doctor recommended them. I would ask how many of these procedures your plastic surgeon has performed and if he has any pictures of people after the...

      more

      I had this surgery on July 6th. It went great! I had an excellent surgeon and plastic surgeon. I went with silicone implants. They are safe and the doctor recommended them. I would ask how many of these procedures your plastic surgeon has performed and if he has any pictures of people after the procedure. This will help you see how you will look. I was in a lot of pain after the procedure for a couple of weeks. It really does take time to get over it. Take it slow and listen to your body. I was showering two days after with my husband's help. If you don't already have one, get one of those shower heads that you can adjust and is handheld. My shower has a seat built in and so that helped. My PS also used Alloderm when he put in the implants, which he said helped to cradle the implants and make them feel more natural. There is a slight risk of your skin dying, but that did not happen to me. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the implants. They are different, but they look better than what I had before :-) I only had an incision above the nipple. You will be swollen and the breasts will shift some and get settled so they look slightly different after 6 weeks. The drains were absolutely the worst part of the whole thing and when I finally got those removed, I felt like I was really healing much better. Every person is different and every person's body heals differently. I began driving after about 5 weeks. I wore my husband's t-shirts or button down shirts for a few weeks because I had trouble lifting my arms. Your breasts and underarms will be numb. My left side is beginning to gain some feeling, but my affected side is taking longer to recover. Get a good electric razor! I had lymph nodes removed, so read about precautions you must take to avoid lymphedema. I have not had any complications so far. Also get a good sports bra that zips or fastens in the front. I have been wearing one made Danskin and purchased at Wal-Mart. They zip up the front and have very good support. After wearing it all day, it can rub the wrong way some so I wear a cami underneath. Don't get the cami with the built in shelf bra, though. That is irritating. The breasts are different than natural breasts in that they are wider and more round so buying a bra was different. When I went to purchase a bra, I went to Victoria's Secret. They have a great selection on non-padded bras of great quality. I do wear one for a short period of time, but I still feel more comfortable in the sports bra. I am back to light exercise and brisk walking, although still sore. Doctor says not to run yet. I have been very blessed. I have learned what so many have said. Breast Cancer is indeed a journey and every journey is different, but we can learn so much from others. I hope your experience is without complication and if you get down about it, say out loud, "My cancer is gone!" That is the blessing in all of it. Prayers for you!! P.S. If you are interested in a medical ID bracelet for lymphedema alert Lauren's Hope has some really cute ones. I found them online.

      Comment
    • Karen Heilman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had this procedure done on May 22 and have had no complications relating to the surgery. I would say, though, that it's crucial for you and your doc to be on the same page about the surgery and what your expectations are. Because you are having a one step process and going straight to...

      more

      I had this procedure done on May 22 and have had no complications relating to the surgery. I would say, though, that it's crucial for you and your doc to be on the same page about the surgery and what your expectations are. Because you are having a one step process and going straight to implants rather than expanders, you need to make sure you have clearly communicated your desires to your doctor. Try to be clear about your vision for your "new" body in terms of size, etc.

      A lot depends on how the surgery goes, the condition of the skin once the mastectomy is completed, and the skill of your surgeon. It's not possible for any doctor to tell you exactly what you will look like afterward. Also understand that even if the procedure goes perfectly and they are able to save your skin, aureolas, and nipples, the resulting reconstructed breast will not look or FEEL like your natural breasts to you. You'll still be you, but different.

      I hope this helps a little. Please let me know if there is anything else you'd like to know. Prayers and good luck to you!!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    After breast mastectomy do they start chemo right away?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Stephanie Odom Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I started chemo about 5 weeks after mine. I had to heal after that surgery, plus an incision revision that pushed the timeline back. They want you to be strong and healthy when they start the chemo.

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I started mine 4 weeks later.

      Comment

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