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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    in 2013 I had surgery for dcis. decided not to have radiation or take tamoxifen. I'm going to rely on early detection. has anyone else done this

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Why on Earth would you make such a decision? You go to a specialist because you want the best care and treatment. Instead, you choose to go against a recommendation and be your own doctor. You do realize, this could come back? If it does, you are probably in for a lot of tougher treatment...

      more

      Why on Earth would you make such a decision? You go to a specialist because you want the best care and treatment. Instead, you choose to go against a recommendation and be your own doctor. You do realize, this could come back? If it does, you are probably in for a lot of tougher treatment that just radiation. If you were satisfied with your decision, why are you asking for confirmation you made the correct choice? I hate giving cancer a chance to win.

      4 comments
    • Vanna Sandison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Stage 1A. DOCTOR SAID NO chemo, NO Radiation required, BUT DID WANT Me On Estrogen blocker. I refused. Why? AGE 73, OSTEOPOROSIS. At my age why risk bone breaking, heart atack, exhaustion, all the other side effects? My risk if took drug was 5% return. I asked doctor chance of return...

      more

      Stage 1A. DOCTOR SAID NO chemo, NO Radiation required, BUT DID WANT Me On Estrogen blocker. I refused. Why? AGE 73, OSTEOPOROSIS. At my age why risk bone breaking, heart atack, exhaustion, all the other side effects? My risk if took drug was 5% return. I asked doctor chance of return refusing drug. He said 5%. Do the math.

      4 comments
  • %20Christina Mark Profile

    I have a stage 1 Idc tumor, which chemo drug is common to use for that type if cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 3 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree with Diana, I am diagnosed stage 2 and that is what I had for chemo. 4 rounds of adriamycin/cytoxin followed by 4 rounds of taxol. My treatments were every 14 days. I completed my chemo on nov 5 and just had my lumpectomy this past Thursday. I will need about 30 radiation treatments...

      more

      I agree with Diana, I am diagnosed stage 2 and that is what I had for chemo. 4 rounds of adriamycin/cytoxin followed by 4 rounds of taxol. My treatments were every 14 days. I completed my chemo on nov 5 and just had my lumpectomy this past Thursday. I will need about 30 radiation treatments starting in January. it's a long road, but you will get through it! Keep your head up!

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Most of the women I've spoken to started out with 4 rounds of Adriamiacin/Cytoxin followed by either 4 rounds of dose dense Taxol or 12 rounds of a lower dose of Taxol. But this varies depending on what your Oncologist recommends.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does anyone have any advice or suggestions for treating a headache? I had my first of four AC treatments Thursday and there's been a nonstop headache since then.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Ask your doc for something for the headaches if OTC stuff is not working. Some chemos cause that side effect and if so, the OTC stuff may not work. Don't suffer through it. You don't want to do that and your chemo team doesn't either, so ask. Also be sure to drink lots of fluids because...

      more

      Ask your doc for something for the headaches if OTC stuff is not working. Some chemos cause that side effect and if so, the OTC stuff may not work. Don't suffer through it. You don't want to do that and your chemo team doesn't either, so ask. Also be sure to drink lots of fluids because dehydration will contribute to headaches as well. Good luck to u

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sometimes it is the anti nausea meds. I was so worried about nausea that I think I took too much of the anti nausea stuff which causes the headache. Try to back off from the ... Can't remember the name. Gas... Something in a green packet. Bad headaches with that one.

      Comment
  • Jill H Profile

    Had u/s,mamm,biopsy. Results come Monday. In good spirits but emotional when I think of my boys. Don't know how to tell ppl if it is cancer. want to be educated and prepared when I get results. Thoughts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 3 answers
    • Tara Mitchell Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Hi Jill, I'm so sorry u have to go through this. No matter the results, you will get through it. From my experience telling people, I waited until I had a definitive diagnosis then I jumped right in. I was upfront and honest about what it was BUT I immediately added that this was an illness not...

      more

      Hi Jill, I'm so sorry u have to go through this. No matter the results, you will get through it. From my experience telling people, I waited until I had a definitive diagnosis then I jumped right in. I was upfront and honest about what it was BUT I immediately added that this was an illness not a killer. Cancer still has such a stigma attached and people seem to assume the worst. You know what they say about people who assume. That attitude only makes it harder for you to maintain a good outlook and you should keep that if nothing else. Yes this is a tough battle but we are warriors and that's how I presented it to others. Be honest but don't let others bring you down. This is your "adventure" and you are in control always. I used humour when sharing information and laughed about a lot of what was happening. Actually it's not all doom and gloom. There are humorous moments so give yourself permission to have real feelings ( think goldfish bowls and condoms in the blood lab). Wishing you the best of everything!

      4 comments
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Let's hope you don't have cancer and won't have to have that conversation! But, if you or someone you know does, there are resources to help. Here are good suggesions for telling young children: ...

      more

      Let's hope you don't have cancer and won't have to have that conversation! But, if you or someone you know does, there are resources to help. Here are good suggesions for telling young children:

      http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/features/telling-your-child-you-have-breast-cancer-5-things-you-need-to-know

      http://www.cancer.org/treatment/childrenandcancer/helpingchildrenwhenafamilymemberhascancer/dealingwithdiagnosis/dealing-with-diagnosis-how-to-tell-children

      I told my closest friends and relatives, but asked a few to pass it on to others, so I didn't have to rehash everything over and over. Email was a good way for quick updates for surgeries and treatment. Be careful about what you post on social media.

      The LEARN section on this site is a great way to get info for you. Use reputable sites like breastcancer.org and http://www.cancer.org/.

      Take someone with you to your appointment. Write a list of questions and take notes.

      Surround yourself with positive people. Do something that brings you joy each day. Please keep us posted on the results! We care about you!

      1 comment

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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