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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

  • marianne  hayes Profile

    should I delay my bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction at the same time or have a 2-stage op? I'm so confused. I have a stage II from biop 18mm lump in the upper outside quadrant of my left breast.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I...

      more

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I am almost finished with radiation and I will have reconstruction when I'm healed from that. I have heard both good and bad arguments both ways. I know when choosing expanders then implants, there's the chance of capsular contracture when doing radiation. Thats the negative. The positive is that when you wake from surgery...you will have something there. Another thing to consider is the fact that if you choose to wait...your skin tightens a good bit during radiation and your skin in the radiated area may not be enough to do the expanders & implants. But then of course you can choose another such as DIEP flap (which they'll do a mini tummy tuck as well) or another type. I am going to be visiting plastic surgeons soon Best wishes in whatever you decide. :)

      Comment
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. ...

      more

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. Not because I still feel like I have a breast because this expander is a good ways from what I am thinking my perm implant will eventually look like...... But because I feel like its one less thing to do later. I am ER PR and HER -. My sentinal node did show some cancer while the remaining 12 were clean. My mastectomy biopsy found only precancerous cells in the area that surrounded the original tumor and nothing else in the whole breast. Last week I finished my 4th A/C which was my last. I start 12 weeks of Taxol on April 12 and then I will do 5 years of the hormone pill as well. Once I'm done the end if June with Taxol, ( if all goes well), I plan to do right side mastectomy with expander as soon as I am well enough. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I'm a go getter.... But this AC gives me a run!! But I just take my "medicine" because I have to. I have a loving supportive family and lots of friends praying for me. I am excited about starting the next step of my treatment as it puts me one step closer to being done.!! All your posts are an Inspiration to me. I wish you all the best! Love and prayers- :)

      Comment
  • Kay Brouse Profile

    Thank you, everyone, for giving me some much needed advise on getting a port. You're experiences made such a difference! Much love, my Sistahs!! =)

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      This site is great! Helped me so much in getting through my journey!

      Comment
  • Alglen Thelex Garay Profile

    Is it ok to have a haircut? It's my mom's 3rd week after her 1st chemotherapy... she's complaining about her hair since she is used to a short boy cut. Is it okay to go to the salon and have a haircut? Any suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I found it easier to cut it on my own terms. .I did two cuts over 2 weeks. Then 3 days later it fell out at which time I just shaved it off. Now I'm choosing to stay super short for summer. Let her do what feels right!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      For some reason, my hair falling out was one of the most disturbing side effects. I could not stand the falling-out-in-clumps part of it all. I took my horse clippers and shaved my head.
      As for your mom, I would take my cues from how she is feeling. If she wants to go have a haircut, a buzz...

      more

      For some reason, my hair falling out was one of the most disturbing side effects. I could not stand the falling-out-in-clumps part of it all. I took my horse clippers and shaved my head.
      As for your mom, I would take my cues from how she is feeling. If she wants to go have a haircut, a buzz cut, whatever, I would encourage her to go. She will probably have little stubbles that remain and will eventually fall out. You can celebrate by buying some colorful scarves, and learning (on the internet) how to tie them. If she wants to go the wig route, there are some very attractive styles. It is whatever makes her feel the best about herself. Your Mom is so lucky to have your loving care for her. It will only make her feel a lot better throughout her treatment. Take care, and big hugs to your mom. Sharon .

      1 comment
  • Rae Ruangchan Profile

    How soon can start radiation treatment after complete chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      At least one chemo cycle. It seems to work out to be 4-6weeks before first rads session.

      Comment
    • Fats ferreira Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      My mom ended her chemo mid april.... and started rads end of May, she needed a break after chemo...

      Comment

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