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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

    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
    over 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
  • Janice Baker Profile

    Finished chemo, surgery and radiation. I'm having lots of problems with my expanders on the side I was radiated. Is this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Tricia Hensey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I'm having a difficult time getting my incision to heal in the area that was radiated. My plastic surgeon tells me that it is not uncommon.

      Comment
  • gina richardson Profile

    Tomorrow is the big day that I start chemo. My nerves ate starting to get the best of me. Any last minute tips for a first timer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 16 answers
    • View all 16 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Gina,

      You WILL BE OK! You are nervous because you have no idea what's up with the appointment. My sessions were always about two hours. The port makes it much easier. I did not have any numbing cream but I don't remember it ever being painful. They run saline to clear your line, and a bit of...

      more

      Gina,

      You WILL BE OK! You are nervous because you have no idea what's up with the appointment. My sessions were always about two hours. The port makes it much easier. I did not have any numbing cream but I don't remember it ever being painful. They run saline to clear your line, and a bit of Heperan (sp) to keep it from clotting. I got a metalic taste but that went away. They bring in your "Recipe" in bags, hang them on a "tree" and start running it. At some point, they bring in a HUGE syringe of "red stuff" and inject it into your line. You feel nothing. I always asked them questions, not out of fear but genuine interest. Bring your electronic gadgets with you, your phone, a great book, snacks, water, etc. I would fall asleep because they gave me some kind of additive that made me sleepy. (they probably just wanted to shut me up for a while) Honestly, I looked forward to my appointments because each one meant I was another step closer to being done. I made friends of the staff, looked foward to seeing them and talking. The same with the patients. I never found it to be a bad experience. I would much rather have been playing with my horses but try to "make lemonade" out of your chemo appointments! Hang in there Gina, you will be ok. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Karen G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I had my first one a week ago Thursday. I was also really nervous but at the end of the day I had to say it wasn't so bad. If you have a port it also makes it easier just make sure to use the Emla cream to numb it. They have me a Saline Drip first. Than I got my premeds a Steroid, Emend (for...

      more

      I had my first one a week ago Thursday. I was also really nervous but at the end of the day I had to say it wasn't so bad. If you have a port it also makes it easier just make sure to use the Emla cream to numb it. They have me a Saline Drip first. Than I got my premeds a Steroid, Emend (for Nausea) and Pepcid to coat your Stomach before the Chemo drugs go in. I am on the AC T regimen so the nurse pushed the Adriamycin in while I sucked on an ice pop to prevent mouth sores. After that they gave me the Cytoxin through the IV bag. You don't feel any of this going in. I was there for 5 hours but it usually is supposed to take 3-4. Bring some snacks and a light lunch with you and a water bottle (drink a lot to flush out the drugs). I brought a book with me but was too nervous to read. My husband came with me too only because it was my first time and I was scared. Before you know it it is over. Hope this helps.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What are the chances of breast cancer coming back after chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2007
    almost 9 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Mary Anne Babicky-Bouton Profile
      anonymous
      stage_4 Patient

      I am 2 1/2 years from last radiation treatment. I had no active cancer at that time, The chemo and radiation was because I was intermediate chance of recurrence.
      I was just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. It's in lymph nodes, bone and neck. Please ask your oncologist to do pet scan or...

      more

      I am 2 1/2 years from last radiation treatment. I had no active cancer at that time, The chemo and radiation was because I was intermediate chance of recurrence.
      I was just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. It's in lymph nodes, bone and neck. Please ask your oncologist to do pet scan or something 1 year after you complete treatment. I just found a lump in my neck but no other symptoms.
      This was not anybody's fault but I wish I had had some kind of scan to check after 1 year.
      Starting oral chemo in two weeks. God bless and good luck!

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was told by both my surgeon and oncologist that should there be a reoccurrence it would be within five years.

      Comment

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