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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a 1cm breast tumor, stage 1, two lymph nodes removed ten days ago that doctor said looked good. I am 72 and in excellent health. I would like some information about what type of radiation would be best for me.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think a decision is best made with the facts from the pathology report and your oncologist. The treatments are now so tailor-made for each woman and no longer the "shot-gun" approach. The treatment plans could be completely different from one woman to another depending on the individual...

      more

      I think a decision is best made with the facts from the pathology report and your oncologist. The treatments are now so tailor-made for each woman and no longer the "shot-gun" approach. The treatment plans could be completely different from one woman to another depending on the individual findings... even if the diagnosis may seem the same on the surface. Did you have an Onco-Test DX? This is a test that can predict the chances of reoccurance in early stage breast cancer. It looks at individual cells and can give you a look into the future. It helps map out a treatment plan for you. It usually take a bit longer for that test result to come back. If you don't know if you had that test, ask your doctor. You are a good candidate for this test. Good luck to you and healing hugs! Sharon

      Comment
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I don't know enough to answer your question but I have to say Hi since we are the same age. I will be 72 in July. I was diagnosed on Valentines Day with ER/PR- HER2 . I recently started the TCH Protocol. I hope you get the answers you need.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone else had issues with their toenails and Taxol?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 3B Patient

      Mine turned a little black so did my finger nails but I didn't lose any ;) I just kept them polished.

      1 comment
    • Lisa M Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      My toenails were fine, but after I finished my treatments I noticed horizontal grooves in my fingernails. They finally grew out so back to normal :)

      Comment
  • Francine Williams Profile

    I'm meeting with the chemo Dr in a couple of days. When should I to expect to start the process of getting started?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Francine, chemo, is sometimes done before surgery. It just depends on your Onc and stage of cancer. My chemo was done first. I met with my dr, the had a PET scan, MUGA scan(which determines how strong your heart is prior to taking chemo). Normally you'll meet with your Onc after those test are...

      more

      Hi Francine, chemo, is sometimes done before surgery. It just depends on your Onc and stage of cancer. My chemo was done first. I met with my dr, the had a PET scan, MUGA scan(which determines how strong your heart is prior to taking chemo). Normally you'll meet with your Onc after those test are done. Then usually you'll have a port installed in your chest area. This makes it so much easier to administer your chemo. And save your veins from being stuck each time. I am so glad I had mine in the long run. :) I just finished my chemo last month and now getting ready for my surgery. Good luck to you!

      Diana

      Comment
    • Francine Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thanks meet with the Chemo Dr. andvj start next week had my surgurey first then haven my port install Tue and starting Chemo Wed I'm do nit ready!!

      Comment
  • Valerie Torrence Nichols Profile

    Has the Oncotype DX test affected anyone's decision to have chemo? I would love to hear of someone else's experience.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 16 answers
    • View all 16 answers
    • Alison Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It made all the difference to me! Everyone was sure I wouldnt need chemo but my results put me in the "grey area" between not needing it and needing it. It was a tough decision but since there isn't enough data out there about the "grey area" I decided to proceed with chemo. I would encourage you...

      more

      It made all the difference to me! Everyone was sure I wouldnt need chemo but my results put me in the "grey area" between not needing it and needing it. It was a tough decision but since there isn't enough data out there about the "grey area" I decided to proceed with chemo. I would encourage you to take the test.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Valerie,
      With this test, we have an opportunity to look into the future. Rather than carving that decision in stone, be open to the chance you might have to change. To have a golden opportunity right now to thwart a reoccurance and ultimately save yourself from additional treatment in the...

      more

      Valerie,
      With this test, we have an opportunity to look into the future. Rather than carving that decision in stone, be open to the chance you might have to change. To have a golden opportunity right now to thwart a reoccurance and ultimately save yourself from additional treatment in the future is worth its weight in gold. This will be your window of opportunity. Here's hoping for a very low score. Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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