loading... close

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

  • Jeanne Arroyo Profile

    I did 3rd round of AC, one more next Thursday, then 4 rounds of taxol. I hear everyone say taxol is easier than AC, is it true?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Taxol is easier on the body, you won't feel nausea or fatigue or any of the other side effects from AC. I developed a mild rash on my cheekbone with taxol. I also had bone pain.

      Comment
    • Elizabeth Flanigan Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain...

      more

      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain or neuropathy you experience. After my first Taxol, I was switched to abraxane (generic form) due to anxiety symptoms (the oncologist said that was part of what we know as restless leg syndrome) and my dose was lowered due to the "disco" type shooting pains that indicated my dose was too high. The Taxol wasn't the cause of the anxiety, but the Benedryl that had to be administered along with it, was. The abraxane was much better tolerated than the Taxol. I did lose the last remaining bit of my hair, and my eye lashes/brows...but within three weeks they were already growing back! So, in sum, be sure to tell your oncologist about any pain etc., it will help him/her judge whether your dose needs to be adjusted, etc. Also, because I felt so much better on the Taxol/Abraxane (like a bird that just grew wings!), I tended to "hit the ground running" so to speak after the last couple rounds. I paid for this later. Get your exercise, but REST and let your body recover.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone had an entrapped nerve in the armpit or arm? If so, what did you do about it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Mary Chase Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It depends. It will depend on your symptoms, the severity, the cause of the nerve entrapment and what has been tried to alleviate it. I have had this happen and had pain and weakness in my wrist. When the pain would keep me up at night and wearing a splint didn't help it was diagnosed as ulnar...

      more

      It depends. It will depend on your symptoms, the severity, the cause of the nerve entrapment and what has been tried to alleviate it. I have had this happen and had pain and weakness in my wrist. When the pain would keep me up at night and wearing a splint didn't help it was diagnosed as ulnar nerve entrapment at the level of the elbow and I had surgery to give the nerve more room. Nerve entrapment with symptoms in the arm or had can also be due to a nerve or nerves being pinched in the neck. A neurologist can help make the proper diagnosis.

      2 comments
  • frances pensato Profile

    When does the metallic taste go away? I had my last chemo 3 weeks ago.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I think it was about a month when I first noticed salt and some spices and it continued to get better. Taste came before my eyelashes, and eyebrows.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I hadr it for lime 2 weeks after each chemo so i think it just depends in ur body

      Comment
  • julie s Profile

    Care to share your experience? I'm recovering from 4th chemo... having hard time.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Jennifer Jones Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Hi Julie, #4 kicked my bootie too. Hang in there kiddo--I have 3 more to go. How many more do you have?

      1 comment
    • celien thorne Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I'm sorry to hear you r having a rough time , dumb chemo does so much crap to our bodies :-(, stay on your pain pills and anti nausea meds if u have them and drink lots of water maybe even Popsicles . It will pass I know it's very draining , I felt severe joint pains after my 4th and many other...

      more

      I'm sorry to hear you r having a rough time , dumb chemo does so much crap to our bodies :-(, stay on your pain pills and anti nausea meds if u have them and drink lots of water maybe even Popsicles . It will pass I know it's very draining , I felt severe joint pains after my 4th and many other bad side effects .too many ! But . Try stretching n walking It helped me big time ! You will recover , it will pass! Take care , Celien

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 3

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

spread the word