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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

    I am happy w/ my current MD team. Family is pressing for 2nd opinion- go to the Big City. This feels daunting, but I want to make sure I am getting the best path. reads/ surgery options/chemo cocktails. Any one with a similar worry or advice?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Go with your gut feeling. It is you and your body that has to go through the treatment. At any point you can change or get a second opinion. Lean on your faith as you make these decisions.

      Comment
    • michelle j Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I haven't gotten a second opinion for anything so far. I feel that God has pointed me in the right direction and I've felt comfortable and confident with every doctor I've chosen. Having said that, if I had any doubts I would definitely seek another opinion. If you feel good where you're at, that...

      more

      I haven't gotten a second opinion for anything so far. I feel that God has pointed me in the right direction and I've felt comfortable and confident with every doctor I've chosen. Having said that, if I had any doubts I would definitely seek another opinion. If you feel good where you're at, that answere s

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a double mastectomy two weeks ago. I have been discharged by my surgeon, but I am now having tingling, sharp pains in my left arm where the lymph nodes were examined. Is there anything I can do that would help?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi, it's been almost eight weeks since I had my double mastectomy. I had 15 lymph nodes removed. I've had different pains as well. It may be the nerves growing back. But you might want to call your surgeon just to rule out any problems.

      Comment
  • 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
    almost 8 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone had chemo before surgery? Was it helpful? This is a recommendation for me. What do I need to expect? I don't want it to spread. Help

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 1 year 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      My Oncologist wanted me to do some chemo. prior to surgery (I'm assuming to try and shrink the tumor) but my Surgeon nixed the idea.

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Thank you for answering my question. I just met the oncologist. She recommended chemo first. Everything is so overwhelming right now. I think the fist chemo was a combo of something starting with the letter A and something with a T. I have to do it 1 x every 2 weeks for 4 times. Then I think she...

      more

      Thank you for answering my question. I just met the oncologist. She recommended chemo first. Everything is so overwhelming right now. I think the fist chemo was a combo of something starting with the letter A and something with a T. I have to do it 1 x every 2 weeks for 4 times. Then I think she said Taxol?? 1 x every week for 4 weeks.? That is my entire summer doing chemo. Can you give me any ideas on what to expect?? She said i will definately loose my hair, tired and nausea. I have to be there for 2-3 hours. I get a port put in next week. Any idea on what to expect with that? I am so scared and overwhelmed. I don't know how will do this. She wants to start chemo in 2 weeks. I have tons of tests to get done. It is so much in a short time? What should I expect?

      4 comments

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