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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

    My mother had bilateral mastectomy last week and has had fevers ever since. Her white blood cell count is at 47? Is that bad? Going in for her 3rd surgery today.

    Asked by anonymous

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

      I am sorry but do not know what is normal for blood counts but if she is running a fever, that does not sound good to me. This is something she needs to talk to her surgeon about asap. It also sounds like she may need to be on some kind of antibiotic.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending...

      more

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending on how bad she feels, you might want to consider going to the ER at a hospital with which her doctor is affiliated. Be sure she wears a mask (you can get one at a drug store). She probably needs to have blood work and other tests to figure out what's going on.
      Keep us posted, and please continue to ask any questions you might have.

      2 comments
  • jaspal kaur Profile

    What is the best chemo regime(TC or AC followed by T) after the lumpectomy performed on the 59 yr old, 27mm IDC, Grade 2, er/pr positive, her2 negative, no lymph node? I have taken two opinions, now I'm confused whether I'm underdosed or overdosed?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      I would be getting another opinion from another oncologist. Was it suggested you have radiation? Did you have an Onco DX test? There is so much that depends on individual cells and the possibility of recurrance. I still don't think you have enough information so you can really feel confident...

      more

      I would be getting another opinion from another oncologist. Was it suggested you have radiation? Did you have an Onco DX test? There is so much that depends on individual cells and the possibility of recurrance. I still don't think you have enough information so you can really feel confident with making a decision at this point. Hang in there and do not be afraid to really dig for answers to your questions.

      Comment
    • jaspal kaur Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thanks San and Sharon for the answers. I am taking few more opinions from MO, as my surgery wound is taking time to heal, so planning to utilise this time and get OncotypeDx test also. I am highly er positive(100%)and pr (75%), may be the low score of OncotypeDx test will help more in taking...

      more

      Thanks San and Sharon for the answers. I am taking few more opinions from MO, as my surgery wound is taking time to heal, so planning to utilise this time and get OncotypeDx test also. I am highly er positive(100%)and pr (75%), may be the low score of OncotypeDx test will help more in taking decision. Although its been 4 weeks my surgery has happened, is there any timeline to start chemo?

      Comment
  • Stephanie O'Briant Profile

    I'm about to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I am considering the DIEP flap or implants. Does anyone have experiences to share either way? Pros, cons, etc. Thanks.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 5 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I did the diep flap. I had real issues with anything foreign in my body. I know everything is me.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I had DIEP flap reconstruction on sept. 14th. I had great results!!! Very happy with the way my breasts look. Plus the added bonus of a flat tummy!!

      3 comments
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Stage 1 cancer : lumpectomy or Mastectomy ? So confused, any opinions out there...need help, musy make up my mind soon!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this...

      more

      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this decision with me. We had long talks about lumpectomy vs mastectomy. This was one of the hardest decisions of all in the whole cancer process, but I know I made the right one for myself. The reasons I chose lumpectomy had a lot to do with the studies done on women and their recurrence rate after lumpectomy vs mastectomy. With a lumpectomy, I knew radiation was also going to be part of my treatment. Now, 2 years later, I am very content with the choices I made. Hang in there Carla and take your time with this.

      2 comments
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies...

      more

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies are showing the chances of cancer reoccuring are about the same whether or not you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy. You will make the right decision for you, and follow your gut instinct. We are all here for you.

      Comment

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