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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

  • Evelyn H. Profile

    My mom started with chemo last Tuesday. Yesterday she ate some fruits, but today she only ate gelatine and an apple because she has nausea and vomiting. I wonder if its normal the fact of don’t want to eat anything and how many days it could last?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Evelyn,
      Since this was her first, nobody, even the oncologist doesn't know how she will react. At her next appointment, she needs to TELL them what her reactions were. They can tweak her anti-nausea meds and make things better for her. I was given a drug called "Emend" and never had any...

      more

      Evelyn,
      Since this was her first, nobody, even the oncologist doesn't know how she will react. At her next appointment, she needs to TELL them what her reactions were. They can tweak her anti-nausea meds and make things better for her. I was given a drug called "Emend" and never had any nausea. The other reaction she may experience and there is nothing that can be done for this is your sense of smell and taste can change during your treatment. Food can take on an odd taste and you become picky about what you can eat.
      Some foods cooking, you can't tolerate. Again this is temporary and fairly common. You just have to go with it. I ended up craving greens.... salads, spinach, and "hot pockets" (frozen sandwiches you heat in the microwave). It is funny to hear the combinations of things women eat when they are on chemo.
      The best thing is to work with the oncologist for anti-nausea meds. Things can be made to be a LOT more comfy. Hang in there.... take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Have her talk to her onc. They know her case best and will give her suggestions for the nausea or maybe a new medication. During chemo I mostly ate yogurt, crackers, and chocolate ensure.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have infiltrating DC. I tested pos. for BRCA gene. I will be having bilateral mastectomy on thurs. with reconstruction. I was told I was a candidate for nipple sparing mastectomy & am considering this. Any thoughts or opinions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My surgery was a success. The PS did such a good job. Nothing can prepare you to see your new breast/s and then they are numb and way too firm. I do believe this technique is the way to go for the most natural look. Scars are less disfiguring. Hope your journey foes well

      Comment
    • Mona Callender Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had implants put in wouldn't do again. But was 56 when I had it done. They are not what they are cracked up to be

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer. I have had my lifetime dose of adriamycin and was put on a regimen of Cytoxin and Taxotere. I had a moderately severe reaction to these drugs in my second treatment. What do I do next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this...

      more

      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this done by your Onc? If you are not able to tolerate those two drugs...not to worry. There are more chemo drugs used. I completed my rounds of Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxotere and then had my surgery. Afterwards due to extensive lymph node involvement I am on chemo again using the drugs Carboplatin and Gemcitabine. These two chemo drugs are used for later stages of breast cancer as well as lung and ovaian cancer. Talk to your Onc about your different options. Best wishes and prayers to you in your fight!

      Comment
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am stage 1 and will soon be on cytoxin and taxotere as well. What kind of reaction did you have? Did you lose any hair or has it thinned?

      2 comments
  • catina duncan Profile

    Does chemotherapy hurt?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I wondered the same thing before my first round. You cannot feel the chemo drugs during the infusion at all. Kind of like getting IV fluids if you've ever had those.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Catina,
      Never any pain at all in fact, I looked forward to them.... YES! Had a party in the treatment room with the other patients every time and each treatment meant I was one more closer to being done. I also had a port placed in my upper chest. The infusion nurse would merely "plug in" a...

      more

      Catina,
      Never any pain at all in fact, I looked forward to them.... YES! Had a party in the treatment room with the other patients every time and each treatment meant I was one more closer to being done. I also had a port placed in my upper chest. The infusion nurse would merely "plug in" a needle into the port and deliver the treatment that way. There was no searching for a vein because this goes directly into a large one in your chest. I always thought the treatments were a piece of cake. Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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