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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

  • Mickie Hall Profile

    55 yr old-just had a bilateal mastectomy for diagnosis of inasive carcinoma & high grade DCIS. Tumor size 2 cm, clear margin of 1mm, Nottingham 9, hormone sensitive. Should I consider additional treatment with radiation, chemo or hormone therapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 7 years 1 answer
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      As a provider, my predictable answer is that your doctor knows your cancer best to answer that question. Physicians are obligated to practice according to the most up to date standards-of-care. These standards are based on real life statistics and outcomes of thousands of breast cancer patients...

      more

      As a provider, my predictable answer is that your doctor knows your cancer best to answer that question. Physicians are obligated to practice according to the most up to date standards-of-care. These standards are based on real life statistics and outcomes of thousands of breast cancer patients and scenarios.

      But as every doctor is also taught, every patient is entitled to their own wishes, and we are not to unfairly sway our patients towards any particular bias, or make any decisions for them. We are just to educate as thoroughly as possible in helping decision-making.

      If you are concerned because your doctor told you that you did not need those additional treatments, it is true that some low stage cancers when treated with full mastectomies (and not lumpectomy) do not need other therapy to help prevent recurrence. If you have been told you do not need extra treatment but desire it, you could always get the second opinion of another oncologist.

      5 comments
  • tamara carr Profile

    I have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, stage 1. What is the best course or treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too...

      more

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too widespread. She had a mastectomy and will be having reconstruction, no chemo.
      Your treatment plan depends on a lot of things on a cellular level. No two women's treatment plans seem to be the same. The pathology may be similar, with the same overall diagnosis but the treatment plans depend on that microscopic detection. Good luck to you! Sharon

      Comment
    • Jodie Brummet Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 last year. I was able to have lumpectomy followed by radiation. I am premenopausal and take Tamoxifen. I also had negative genetic test. Ask many questions and you will find what is the best treatment path for you.

      Comment
  • Jodie Brummet Profile

    Anyone take tamoxifen and still have periods?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Yes I still had periods while in tamoxifen for three years. They were irregular I was already in the pre menopausal state with irregular periods before I started tamoxifen. I had an endometrial biopsy which had showed I was still a young'in and having a normal cycle.

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      My doctor also would check my blood hormone levels every year. This past visit my hormone levels showed I am officially menopausal I haven't had a period for a year.

      Comment
  • Jeanne Arroyo Profile

    I did 3rd round of AC, one more next Thursday, then 4 rounds of taxol. I hear everyone say taxol is easier than AC, is it true?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Taxol is easier on the body, you won't feel nausea or fatigue or any of the other side effects from AC. I developed a mild rash on my cheekbone with taxol. I also had bone pain.

      Comment
    • Elizabeth Flanigan Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain...

      more

      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain or neuropathy you experience. After my first Taxol, I was switched to abraxane (generic form) due to anxiety symptoms (the oncologist said that was part of what we know as restless leg syndrome) and my dose was lowered due to the "disco" type shooting pains that indicated my dose was too high. The Taxol wasn't the cause of the anxiety, but the Benedryl that had to be administered along with it, was. The abraxane was much better tolerated than the Taxol. I did lose the last remaining bit of my hair, and my eye lashes/brows...but within three weeks they were already growing back! So, in sum, be sure to tell your oncologist about any pain etc., it will help him/her judge whether your dose needs to be adjusted, etc. Also, because I felt so much better on the Taxol/Abraxane (like a bird that just grew wings!), I tended to "hit the ground running" so to speak after the last couple rounds. I paid for this later. Get your exercise, but REST and let your body recover.

      Comment

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