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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

  • christina cappa Profile

    If diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, what kind of surgery should I expect?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Yashmira Devine Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Hi Christina,
      I was diagnosed in August, I had a bilateral mastectomy, no chemo, no rads, lymph nodes were negative, and have been recommended for tamoxifen for 5 years. Sharon is right, everyone is different so your treatment recommendations will be different.
      Good luck to you and remember to...

      more

      Hi Christina,
      I was diagnosed in August, I had a bilateral mastectomy, no chemo, no rads, lymph nodes were negative, and have been recommended for tamoxifen for 5 years. Sharon is right, everyone is different so your treatment recommendations will be different.
      Good luck to you and remember to rely on family and friends for help, support, literally. Have someone go with you to your doctor appointments, there is SO MUCH info that is being given to you, you have questions and you may go numb and forget to ask them. The person that goes with you should possibly have a notebook to write down all the info so that you can absorb it better when you are home.
      Again, GOOD LUCK.
      Yashmira

      Comment
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I had a lumpectomy and 16 radiation treatments. No lymph involvement so no chemo.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What kind of fruits & vegetables are best to eat during chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I LOVED everybody's suggestions! Your taste will change.... eat what you can and drink, drink, drink, plenty of fluids. I developed a craving for greens..... salads, bags of spinach, but lost my taste for chocolate and coffee.
      (Marianne.... --loved-- the rusty pipes and chocolate!!!)
      Take...

      more

      I LOVED everybody's suggestions! Your taste will change.... eat what you can and drink, drink, drink, plenty of fluids. I developed a craving for greens..... salads, bags of spinach, but lost my taste for chocolate and coffee.
      (Marianne.... --loved-- the rusty pipes and chocolate!!!)
      Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I juiced apples carrots bananas melon with a little organic honey. Some days I would alter the juice. I couldn't eat chicken but loved mozerella cheese. It was kinda like having morning sickness. Hope this helps and sending you best wishes on your journey. Jayme

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    After a double mastectomy I am getting two choices of treatment for stage 2b. Chemo or No Chemo with hormone therapy. E P Her2 - Any suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • blair greiner Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Were lymph nodes involved?

      1 comment
    • melissa perlman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      What' s the purpose of hormone therapy if you are E P negative.?

      4 comments
  • celien thorne Profile

    I start my first round out of 6 cycles of chemo tomorrow and I have to stick my fingers in ice water ? So my nails won't fall off? Has anyone had their nails fall off ? Are there any other remedies as well to avoid this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Do you know what your "cocktail" will be? I have heard that some people wear cold gloves, but I did not have to do anything different with my hands/ nails during treatments. I had 4 A/C followed by 4 taxol treatments, and both my fingernails and toenails were fine. Ask your oncologist or the...

      more

      Do you know what your "cocktail" will be? I have heard that some people wear cold gloves, but I did not have to do anything different with my hands/ nails during treatments. I had 4 A/C followed by 4 taxol treatments, and both my fingernails and toenails were fine. Ask your oncologist or the nurses what the ice will do to benefit you and then decide what is best. Chemo drugs kill fast growing cells and your nails and hair grows quickly, so that's why we lose our hair and sometimes have nail issues during treatments. Best of luck to you tomorrow!

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have never heard of the nails falling off. I had AC and Taxol with Herceptin and the only nail issues I had was that they blackened a little and it only happened on the thumbs. It's now growing out. I'd definitely ask your doctor or the nurses.

      Comment

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