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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

  • Susan Green Profile

    Is anybody out there who has been diagnosed with stage 2, er pos, her2 neg, infiltrating cancer who has decided or not had to go through chemo and radiation with good results?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Jessica Fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Stage 2 IDC er pr positive her2 neg bilateral mast followed by 8 months of chemo but no radiation due to the bilateral mast so far so good cancer free:)

      Comment
    • Kim Wallis Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had stage 2 ER & pr positive invasive. I did not have radiation because I chose to ha a bi lateral mastectomy and because I am her2 neg did not have chemo just 5 years of hormone treatment. I am happy with the result

      3 comments
  • anonymous Profile

    Here's my question...I just turned 33, found out last night that I will have a bilateral and chemo can anyone help me out on what to expect as far as the chemo and reconstruction or any other helpful information?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have,...

      more

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have, the stage, the grade, and your age. You are in limbo right now because you are still being tested. Once your team have your treatment schedule set, your life will settle down. I can tell you, where you are right now is lousy. We really don't know what your treatment will be. As far as chemotherapy, everybody handles it differently. Some people it is tough, other people, like myself, it was relatively easy. They have very good druges to keep you from getting nauseated. You WILL lose your hair. That is a --for sure--. It starts to drop out at about 2 weeks after your first treatment. I did not have reconstruction but usually if you have a mastectomy and you are going to have reconstruction, they place tissue expanders to make a pocket for implants. There are other types of reconstruction and that will be discussed with you depending on your specific circumstance.
      A suggestion for you while you are going through this diagnosis phase, take a spouse, relative and good friend to take notes and listen to what is being said. I did not remember a third of what was said. Thankfully, my husband and best friend came along to help me through this tough time. You have got to be your own best advocate. You have got to speak up, ask questions, and make sure you are getting the correct medication. Every woman's treatment will be different because it is not individualized for each woman. It is a long journey, but you will come out the other side a much stronger woman. Breast cancer treatment ain't for wimps! Hang in there.... you WILL make it!
      Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • sandra hayley Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and...

      more

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and exercise regularly.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How long does a chemotherapy session last? Is there a good way to take your mind off of it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      The first session takes linger but after that it took 31/2 to 4 hours. I used my i pod, I listened to books, downloaded a movie to my phone. Pretty soon, we(my husband always went with me)made friends so most of the time we ate, drank(no booze), and visited. It seemed like a once every 3 weeks...

      more

      The first session takes linger but after that it took 31/2 to 4 hours. I used my i pod, I listened to books, downloaded a movie to my phone. Pretty soon, we(my husband always went with me)made friends so most of the time we ate, drank(no booze), and visited. It seemed like a once every 3 weeks lunch date. I graduated first they had cake and baloons.

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      My sessions took 3-4 hours as well. It was chilly in the infusion room so you any want to bring a cozy sweater or small blanket. Where comfortable xotheing I found reading magazines was distracting. It helped me not to look at the needles or nurse procedures. Deep breathing helped to relax me. ...

      more

      My sessions took 3-4 hours as well. It was chilly in the infusion room so you any want to bring a cozy sweater or small blanket. Where comfortable xotheing I found reading magazines was distracting. It helped me not to look at the needles or nurse procedures. Deep breathing helped to relax me. Best of luck to you with your treatment! Wishing you minimal side effects and positive results! We are here for you! Please keep in touch.

      1 comment
  • Laura Crawford Profile

    What nutrition supplements are recommended during Chemo treatment? Especially for raising the White Blood Cells level?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Cathy Wadkins Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Dear Laura,
      My doctor told me not to take any vitamins because chemo works the best when your immune system is down, that's why they give you 24 hours after each chemo a neulasta shot and that starts building your white blood cells back up. Right before they hit me again with chemo they checked...

      more

      Dear Laura,
      My doctor told me not to take any vitamins because chemo works the best when your immune system is down, that's why they give you 24 hours after each chemo a neulasta shot and that starts building your white blood cells back up. Right before they hit me again with chemo they checked my blood and it always came out good.stay away from people because you are subject to any jerks and wash your hands constantly. So don't worry about vitamins until you are completely through with chemo, let it do it's job

      1 comment
    • Karrie Cameron Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      My case manager told me today to take a multiple-vitamin but not the one for women as there is estrogen in it. So just look for a regular multiple-vitamin.

      Comment

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