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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

    Six weeks ago, I got a bilateral mastectomy with implants. One of my breasts has started to swell this week. Any ideas or has this happened to you?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Cynthia Roeth Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I too have had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. If you had your major operation six weeks ago, I am wondering if your have still have your 'expanders' in place or has your surgeon already given you your final breast implants. My surgeon did it in stages in order to expand my...

      more

      I too have had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. If you had your major operation six weeks ago, I am wondering if your have still have your 'expanders' in place or has your surgeon already given you your final breast implants. My surgeon did it in stages in order to expand my pectoralis muscles so that my implants would fit in a final surgery. Regardless, I think you should visit your doctor for a follow up in order to have your breast looked at. Before you worry too much though, consider that it could just be some fluid, post operation, that did not drain. One of my friends had that happen and the surgeon opted to drain the excess fluid so that her breast would then continue to heal properly. This was not difficult for her to recover from and was an in-office procedure. My very best to you, dear.

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Did anyone have problems with indigestion/ heartburn while on chemo???

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      YES!!!! I lived on tums and zantac. There were times I couldn't tell if it was a heat attack or heart burn.

      Comment
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes, my oncologist suggested I used an acid reducer... Any brand is fine. I lived on Pepcid complete chewables

      Comment
  • cindy stephenson Profile

    Anyone have muscle fatigue in their thighs?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes and all rest of them too. Exercise helps the most. Yoga, walking, archery are the best for me. I know that's what "they" all say but is true. I got a script for physical therapy. All of this started 4 months after active treatment was completed.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 3B Patient

      I finished chemo almost 2 months ago. I still feel very stiff ;( I'm 35 but I feel like I'm 90 it's hard to get up and get moving. Dr said other people have described as If you have arthritis all over ;( I was hoping to feel better before I started radiation but that didn't happen. Hope you...

      more

      I finished chemo almost 2 months ago. I still feel very stiff ;( I'm 35 but I feel like I'm 90 it's hard to get up and get moving. Dr said other people have described as If you have arthritis all over ;( I was hoping to feel better before I started radiation but that didn't happen. Hope you start feeling better soon

      Comment
  • Lacey Brooke Profile

    I am 21 and I have aggressive breast cancer. Could I end up permantely disabled for life from chemo? My tumor was 4 cm big.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Lacey....I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Especially at such a young age. I was diagnosed with stage 3C last May. I had to have 8 rounds of chemo before my mastectomy....then 8 rounds afterwards as well. Last month I finished all my radiation treatments. Chemo isn't easy but you...

      more

      Hi Lacey....I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Especially at such a young age. I was diagnosed with stage 3C last May. I had to have 8 rounds of chemo before my mastectomy....then 8 rounds afterwards as well. Last month I finished all my radiation treatments. Chemo isn't easy but you can get through it!! I'm still a little fatigued but other than the fatigue....I'm doing well. The fatigue will get better in time...and I'm cancer free!!!!!! Much love & hugs. You're not alone...you can do this!!!

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      What do you mean by permanently disabled? I am 30 years old and went through 8 rounds of chemo, 2 lumpectomies, and 32 radiation treatments - with 2 rads left. I feel pretty much the same as I did before my treatments started. I did have side effects, but they disappear over time. Best of...

      more

      What do you mean by permanently disabled? I am 30 years old and went through 8 rounds of chemo, 2 lumpectomies, and 32 radiation treatments - with 2 rads left. I feel pretty much the same as I did before my treatments started. I did have side effects, but they disappear over time. Best of luck to you, we are all here for you if you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask!

      Comment

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