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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

  • Mary Chase Profile

    Has anyone else had a severe reaction to chemotherapy ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Do you mean an allergic reaction or have become really ill from it? I had a really bad reaction to an additive in the "recipe". Chemotherapy is pretty tough stuff because it is fighting an equally tough opponent. Be sure to contact your team if you become very ill or start having rashes,...

      more

      Do you mean an allergic reaction or have become really ill from it? I had a really bad reaction to an additive in the "recipe". Chemotherapy is pretty tough stuff because it is fighting an equally tough opponent. Be sure to contact your team if you become very ill or start having rashes, hives, trouble breathing. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a reaction after the taxotere had been started during my 2nd and 4th treatments. Both reactions after 15 minutes of the start of taxotere. The first time the chemo nurse stopped the drip and gave me some I've Benadryl ans slowed the drip down from 1 hour to two hours. I was told that...

      more

      I had a reaction after the taxotere had been started during my 2nd and 4th treatments. Both reactions after 15 minutes of the start of taxotere. The first time the chemo nurse stopped the drip and gave me some I've Benadryl ans slowed the drip down from 1 hour to two hours. I was told that this would be continued for the 3rd-6th treatments. The 4th treatment was the same after 15 minutes of onset. Again the taxotere was stopped and i was given solu- me drol. The drip was continued at 3 hours instead of 2. This is what they would do for treatments 5 & 6. My reaction was abdominal pain & my face got very red (temp got high). So this was my experience but I was well taken care of. Good luck to you. Always talk to your medical team. Mine is of great help.

      Comment
  • vicki e Profile

    Seroma update - doing outpatient surgery tomorrow to clear her. She now has hematoma too. We don't need this in the middle of chemo. Prayers please.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 7 years 6 answers
  • Allison Mosely Profile

    I've had a bilat mastectomy, scheduled for my ovaries and tubes removed. How much will I benifit from Chemo? I'm BRCA1+, IDC, stage 2b, 2/4 nodes. I know it diminishes my chances for recurrence, but how much?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Allison, I agree with Donna. Especially since you had 2/4 positive nodes and are BRAC as well. You certainly don't want to look back and wonder why you didn't do the chemo. I completed 8 dose dense treatments in Sept. then had my bilateral mastectomy. My path results showed I had 13/15...

      more

      Hi Allison, I agree with Donna. Especially since you had 2/4 positive nodes and are BRAC as well. You certainly don't want to look back and wonder why you didn't do the chemo. I completed 8 dose dense treatments in Sept. then had my bilateral mastectomy. My path results showed I had 13/15 positive nodes with 2 breaking outside the node. So...my Onc. Recommended 8 more rounds of chemo with two different drugs. I was upset and felt like I was back at square one. But I just think of it as something I must do in order to survive. You are on the right path. God bless you on your road to recovery! Hugs, Diana

      Comment
    • Donna Ginnings Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2001

      Get the chemo, then you will never regret that you didn't take it. I only had 1 node and my cancer returned after 3 years even with chemo, but I didn't have ovaries removed and should have. May God bless and heal you. You are on the right track. Get the chemo and don't look back.

      Comment
  • Shirley Williams Profile

    precautions for famlies who bas a member going though chemo

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I was told avoid kissing on the mouth, sex, and if possible use a different bathroom for day of and 1 day after chemo. Just for precaution of transmitting to someone. Also, if vomit was to be cleaned up by someone, use gloves. My husband & I tried to follow this, but we would forget and tease "no...

      more

      I was told avoid kissing on the mouth, sex, and if possible use a different bathroom for day of and 1 day after chemo. Just for precaution of transmitting to someone. Also, if vomit was to be cleaned up by someone, use gloves. My husband & I tried to follow this, but we would forget and tease "no chemo kisses!" He was fine. Prayers to you.

      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      The person who is receiving chemotherapy has a lowered immune system and is much more vulnerable to colds and any communicable diseases. Frequent handwashing and attention to hygiene is extremely important.
      As for members of the family getting something from the person going through...

      more

      The person who is receiving chemotherapy has a lowered immune system and is much more vulnerable to colds and any communicable diseases. Frequent handwashing and attention to hygiene is extremely important.
      As for members of the family getting something from the person going through chemotherapy, I never heard of precautions they have to take. Family members have to be considerate of the patient and spreading disease.
      When I was going through chemo. I hung a little sign on the door that asked people who had colds, and sore throats, to visit after they were well.

      Comment

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