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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 3 - Surgery

The first step and most common form of treatment for breast cancer is surgery. This involves removing the tumor and getting clear the margins; the margin is the surrounding tissue that might be cancerous. The goal of surgery is to remove not only the tumor, but also enough of the margin to be able to test for the spread of the cancer.

Some people with Stage 2 or 3 cancer may receive chemotherapy first, which is known as “pre-operative “ or “neoadjuvant” chemotherapy. The goal is to shrink the tumor. By making it smaller, you may have the option of a breast-conserving surgery or lumpectomy.

Mastectomy
In the past, surgery often required removing the, entire breast, chest wall
and all axillary lymph nodes in a procedure called a radical mastectomy. While mastectomies are less common today, there are instances in which this surgery is the best option to treat the cancer.

The more common mastectomy procedures are:

- Simple Mastectomy, also known as total mastectomy, which requires removal of the breast, nipple,areola
and sentinel lymph node or nodes.

- Modified Radical Mastectomy, which requires removal of the
entire breast, nipple, areola
and axillary lymph nodes.

- Skin-Sparing Mastectomy, which requires removal of the, breast, nipple, areola and sentinel lymph node (or nodes) but not the breast skin.

If you are thinking about breast reconstruction, you should consult your medical team before the mastectomy. Even if you plan to have your reconstruction later, this is a way for you to learn about your options.

Related Questions

  • kim sosa Profile

    I'm starting chemo tomorrow what are things that I should eat/drink and what should I stay away from? Any advise for chemo would be great! Very nervous about putting these drugs in my system but it is going to get me better.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I was told to avoid spicy food and I learned why...my senses were magnified do things were super hot!! Check with your onc, b/c I've read that while on certain chemo drugs, one shouldn't eat fresh fruit/veggies. I could, but I remember worrying about it. Drink lots of fluids before during and...

      more

      I was told to avoid spicy food and I learned why...my senses were magnified do things were super hot!! Check with your onc, b/c I've read that while on certain chemo drugs, one shouldn't eat fresh fruit/veggies. I could, but I remember worrying about it. Drink lots of fluids before during and after to flush it out as quickly as possible! Watermelon and grapes were my savior. I also stomached band foods...plain whole wheat pasta sometimes with basic sauce and a bland cheese. Crackers with cream cheese were also good! Yogurt is another. I ate Greek bc it has protein and it was really good when I didn't feel well. Best wishes

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Kim, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. My taste was altered and I craved greens and ate tons of spinach, and salads. I think the warning about produce would be the fear they might be contaminated with E-coli, salmonella, or something equally as nasty. You could get really sick...

      more

      Hi Kim, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. My taste was altered and I craved greens and ate tons of spinach, and salads. I think the warning about produce would be the fear they might be contaminated with E-coli, salmonella, or something equally as nasty. You could get really sick from something like that even if you weren't on chemo! There are well publicized outbreaks of these things occasionally but you would also get that from meat or cantalope, anything could have a contamination these days. I think it would be 10 times more difficult if your immune system was not functioning properly. I ate the salads that were pre-washed and never had any problem. It was just one of the few things I really wanted to eat. If at all possible, I think a well balanced diet that included fruits vegies, is especially important. Like anonymous, I never became sick at all. I took a drug called "Emend" and I was fine. As I said.... unfortunately, my taste was messed up by the chemo and I just lost my taste for different foods. I think you just have to see how you react. Put the best food you can into your body. I also never had a drop in my blood count, luckily, it always stayed in the --normal-- range. Hang in there, Kim!

      Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • 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 7 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
  • Karen G Profile

    I had a Mediport put in last Thursday the Dr. covered it with tape and gauze. Do I need to keep it covered? Also, recovering from breast surgery which will take about 4 weeks, than I start Chemo. Do I need to do anything with my port in the meantime?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lisa W Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Gosh..seems like "yesterday" that i was having my port placed. I was so nervous and happy to say, it all went well!!!! Made my chemo treatments so much easier. -As far as taking care of your port while you are in the healing stages, keep it dry for the first wk or so and the "liquid" bandage...

      more

      Gosh..seems like "yesterday" that i was having my port placed. I was so nervous and happy to say, it all went well!!!! Made my chemo treatments so much easier. -As far as taking care of your port while you are in the healing stages, keep it dry for the first wk or so and the "liquid" bandage should come off in its own. Pretty soon you wont even know its there. ;/) dont be afraid to ask your Dr or nurses about instructions or care while your port is still fresh. Better safe than sorry i always say. ;) also, im assuming your dr prescribed a numbing cream for you. If they havent yet, ask them. This cream was so helpful to me. You actually rub it on and around your port an hour before your chemo treatment. I placed "press n seal"...(seran wrap) over it too so it didnt get on my clothes. This cream helped when my nurse would access my port for chemo. Plus, i still had her spray the "cold spray" too. Lol! All will be ok..stay positive and take it 1 day at a time!!! Oh..by the way..im having my very lady chemo this Fri then we wait a few weeks before my port is removed!!!! I xant believe

      2 comments
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Make sure u have the port flushed in 3 weeks - that will keep it from clotting off

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    IDC stage 1 grade 3 with an oncotype score of 26. Should I do chemo? I'm 45 pre menopausal and told will be taking tamoxifen for sure.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      This is a difficult question to answer because there is a lot that goes into this decision. You have an aggressive bunch of cells in your tumor which would tend to make me decide to go with chemotherapy.

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I'd rather go aggressive now than be sorry later. Chemo is tough for some of us, but we live through it .....for me I wanted to be sure I did whatever I could to beat it!

      Comment

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