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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

    Is it ok to travel (by plane.. Short flight) and stay in hotel 1 week after chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Ali is right check with your onc then have a great time. Do anything you feel good enough too.

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I'm sure it's fine! All depends on how you feel. If youre worried about germs, bring a mask. White blood count is lowest 7-10 days after chemo. Ask your doc just in case. You deserve a trip!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    ILC, 2.5cm her2 neg positive on receptors. My question is do you regret decision on lumpectomy? Or mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Kim Wallis Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 1.4cm invasive ductal and I chose to have a bi lateral mastectomy, which was done in November. After consider all other options I decided it was the best choice to give me the most peace of mind. I am going through expander reconstruction at the moment. It is a very individual thing so get...

      more

      I had 1.4cm invasive ductal and I chose to have a bi lateral mastectomy, which was done in November. After consider all other options I decided it was the best choice to give me the most peace of mind. I am going through expander reconstruction at the moment. It is a very individual thing so get as much info as you can before you make I decision. I can only tell you that I have not regretted my decision for one second. Good luck on your journey.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I had stage 3c IDC. Positive receptors as well, HER 2 neg. my lump was approx 7 cm. I had chemo, a bilateral mastectomy (in Oct. 2011) then more chemo afterwards due to extensive extranodal spread. I just finished chemo a little over 3 weeks ago. And I'm happy to say I had a clean PET scan!!! ...

      more

      I had stage 3c IDC. Positive receptors as well, HER 2 neg. my lump was approx 7 cm. I had chemo, a bilateral mastectomy (in Oct. 2011) then more chemo afterwards due to extensive extranodal spread. I just finished chemo a little over 3 weeks ago. And I'm happy to say I had a clean PET scan!!! I wasn't able to have reconstruction at the same time as my mastectomy due to the cancer being in a late stage & in my chest wall. So...I will do that later on. My next step is radiation therapy. It was hard losing my breasts but I don't regret my decision at all. That combined with chemo, my awesome oncology team, faith, family, & friends pulled me through & saved my life!!!!!!! No regrets. :). Like Kim said...it is a very personal choice. Prayers to you on your journey to wellness.

      Comment
  • Christina Archambault Profile

    I had a mastectomy 6 months ago and haven't had problems with my arm until now. It's swollen from my fingers to my arm pitt and hurts- like a pinching feeling. What is this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sounds like lymphedema, it could develop at anytime due to missing lymph nodes. Ask your doctor about a compression sleeve and/or exercises that you can do to help move the fluid along. Also, try not to lift anything too heavy with that arm. You can FB me if you have any other questions. Hope...

      more

      Sounds like lymphedema, it could develop at anytime due to missing lymph nodes. Ask your doctor about a compression sleeve and/or exercises that you can do to help move the fluid along. Also, try not to lift anything too heavy with that arm. You can FB me if you have any other questions. Hope you feel better soon!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I agree with Shelia, it sounds like you are developing lymphedema. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • vicky kayley Profile

    Hi I was diagnosed 3 weeks ago with invasive breast cancer. I'm having a mastectomy on the 28th then get results the Tuesday after. How long after surgery do you start chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Vicky, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed last May with invasive breast cancer as well. It's such a shock when you're first diagnosed. It's a lot to process. It helps so much to talk to other women who have gone through the same thing. Not happy for the reason...

      more

      Hi Vicky, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed last May with invasive breast cancer as well. It's such a shock when you're first diagnosed. It's a lot to process. It helps so much to talk to other women who have gone through the same thing. Not happy for the reason you're here....but glad you found us. :). Some women have their surgery first...then chemo. And other women have their chemo prior to their surgery. It depends on many factors such as size of tumor, stage, etc. I had chemo first to try & shrink the size of my tumor. I had my mastectomy 3 weeks after my last chemo treatment. Then I had more chemo 3 weeks after my surgery. But that doesn't happen too often. :). As Sharon said...when you get your path results back and have a set game plan, you'll feel much more in control. The time period could be anywhere from 3 weeks after your surgery on. Depending on your Onc. They'll probably want to do a port. You'll be so glad you did in the long run. It's so much easier in every way! I think the emotional aspect for me has been harder than the physical aspect. Just know you're not alone. Surround yourself with positive people. No "basement" people allowed! :). You're going to have "down" days. And that's ok. Cry when you need to. I'm a very positive person. But it's just normal and to be expected for you to be sad sometimes. Anyone that can be positive 24/7 doesn't have both oars in the water. ;). Read uplifting survivor stories. And there's a lot of them! My fav books are "chicken soup for breast cancer survivors", & "there's no place like hope" by Vickie Gerard. Plus you can key up a lot online. That kept me going. And we'll be here for you!!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel Vicky. I had stage 3C when I was diagnosed last may. I had 13 positive lymph nodes, two had broken outside the node, & a place in my chest wall. After chemo, surgery, then more chemo...now I have 6 more radiation treatments left. I am happy to tell you that my last PET scan showed no cancer!!!! I feel truly blessed! If you need any mastectomy tips...let me know. Much love & hugs

      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Vicky, I wish you hadn't joined "our club". It is typical for treatment of breast cancer, to be different for nearly every patient. Lots of us have had the same diagnosis but in the big picture, treatment depends on microscopic findings by the pathologist. There is no set amount time for...

      more

      Hi Vicky, I wish you hadn't joined "our club". It is typical for treatment of breast cancer, to be different for nearly every patient. Lots of us have had the same diagnosis but in the big picture, treatment depends on microscopic findings by the pathologist. There is no set amount time for patients chemo. treatments to start. Have you had a consultation with an oncologist and if so, you can call him or her and ask the question? They will usually talk to you about having a port installed too. A port makes the delivery of the chemotherapy much easier. I know things have happened so quickly for you and your head is swimming with all sorts of questions. Things actually settle down once you get the surgery done and tests back. You will really have a solid plan laid out for you. Please keep in touch with us, we have all been there and will be happy to share our experiences. Take care, & healing hugs, Sharon

      2 comments

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