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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

  • sylvia clark Profile

    Hi, I got diagnosed breast cancer a month ago. I have gone through tons of tests, but no PET SCAN.. Should I ask for one? I have surgery next week, but I have not yet met the oncologist.. Should I be concered?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      My treatment started in 2006 so I also had a ton of tests pre-surgery. I had a CT-Scan instead of a PET Scan, a MUGA, Bone Scan, MRI. I did meet the Oncologist before I had surgery. It was a really miserable time mentally for me. It all happened so fast and it was frightening to me. I had so...

      more

      My treatment started in 2006 so I also had a ton of tests pre-surgery. I had a CT-Scan instead of a PET Scan, a MUGA, Bone Scan, MRI. I did meet the Oncologist before I had surgery. It was a really miserable time mentally for me. It all happened so fast and it was frightening to me. I had so many questions and as the tests came back my treatment plan became more clear. If I were you, I would talk to your surgeon or oncologist about why you are not receiving a PET scan. They may not feel you need it as they have the pre-diagnostics that are needed for you specific case. Treatment is now very specific and no two women are treated the same way. It all depends on the specific cells that make up your tumor.

      This is the type of situation you are going in to you need to ask questions and have an answer that will put your mind to rest. Don't be the least bit shy about speaking up about anything. You are going to be your own best advocate. I was able to save myself a second horrific reaction to a medication because the oncologist's office had made a mistake on my chemo "recipe." The infusion nurse and I got into a discussion because she was blowing off my concern. Turns out, I was right, she was wrong. She said, "It's a good thing you were so insistant." (duh...) So... start learning to speak up.... be respectful, but ask your questions. Good luck, I hope you hang out on this board... there are wonderful caring women on this site.

      3 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Sylvia. I was given a PET scan prior to the beginning of my treatment, but I had chemo first, then my bilateral mastectomy. I'm not sure it that has anything to do with it or not. I would certainly ask the reasoning behind that decision. You mentioned that you haven't met with your oncologist...

      more

      Hi Sylvia. I was given a PET scan prior to the beginning of my treatment, but I had chemo first, then my bilateral mastectomy. I'm not sure it that has anything to do with it or not. I would certainly ask the reasoning behind that decision. You mentioned that you haven't met with your oncologist yet. Do you mean your surgical oncologist (who performs your surgery) or your medical oncologist (who performs your chemo)? If its your surgical oncologist, he/she should be meeting with you soon to discuss the procedure & answer any questions you might have. I would definitely call their office & find out what's going on.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone experienced "cording" post mastectomy/reconstruct surgery? I have this axilla cording (tissue tightness) down back of arm from armpit to elbow. It has been over a year since surgery.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Surf  Momma Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Oh yes! These things are so annoying. My occupational therapist showed me how to massages them and break them up.

      Comment
    • Cindy Mahan Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I also had it after my lumpectomy but it went away with stretching.

      Comment
  • P G Profile

    Chemo #12 down the hatch..... One step closer YAY! high fives all around ( after all it is flu season)

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3C Patient
    almost 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Yippee! Thanks for sharing! Celebrate! Your enthusiasm will get you through this!

      1 comment
    • Morgan Moser Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Super Cyber High Five!!! Congrats!!!

      1 comment
  • Donna Gray Profile

    Is it common to have a muscle tear after implants? I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. My doctor said as long as there is no redness or fluid buildup not to worry, but I do worry.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Thank you so much. I have already had 1 surgery to repair it. I didn't realize pt could help.

      Comment
    • Liz B Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It's not common, but it's possible. The best thing to do is to start stretching very gently as soon as your surgeon gives you the go-ahead. (usually 6-8 weeks). The sooner you elongate the muscle around the implant, the less risk of muscle tearing. A physical therapist should be able to help you...

      more

      It's not common, but it's possible. The best thing to do is to start stretching very gently as soon as your surgeon gives you the go-ahead. (usually 6-8 weeks). The sooner you elongate the muscle around the implant, the less risk of muscle tearing. A physical therapist should be able to help you with gentle pectoral stretches and massage.

      Comment

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