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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

    Breast lumps on both breasts, sized 3cm, 2.8 0.8 & 0.5 on the ultrasound. I also have a family history of breast cancer - my dad's Aunt. It increases my risk that it's breast cancer. What should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Lori A Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You should go to your doctor immediately. Early detection makes a big difference.

      Comment
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I found the tumor in my left breast 2 years ago, at 42 y.o. Same week I did the ultrasound - we jump the step of mammogram because it was clear where the thing was. With the ultrasound we found 2 more tumors, and the confirmation of being a mass. One more week I had the biopsy. Then surgery - I...

      more

      I found the tumor in my left breast 2 years ago, at 42 y.o. Same week I did the ultrasound - we jump the step of mammogram because it was clear where the thing was. With the ultrasound we found 2 more tumors, and the confirmation of being a mass. One more week I had the biopsy. Then surgery - I opt for double mastectomy because I had a high risk over 60% to have in the other breast in the future. Best thing I did because in the biopsy post surgery, they did find a tinny tumor on my right breast, still not detectable by any test.
      Started chemo 1 month after surgery. Then had the genetic test done, and I'm BRCA 2 positive - high risk for ovarian cancer. As soon as I finished the chemo, I had a surgery to remove the ovaries. Then did reconstruction, and now I am healthy, happy and with really little risk of reincidence! Easy? No, it was a trip to hell, painful, scary, I still have neuropathy, joint pains and chemo brain. But I wouldn't change any of the steps I took because I'm alive and happy, very happy!!!! My conclusion and answer for you: don't waste time. As soon as you can have the alien removed from your body, better chances for everything to be all right!!

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My sister had a double mastectomy. The margins came back close. What does this mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Different surgeons have a certain measurement they consider to be clean margins or not. When I had a lumpectomy, the margins were not clean, so I had to go back the following week for a re- excision to take out more tissue. The margins were still not clear. The next step was a mastectomy. As...

      more

      Different surgeons have a certain measurement they consider to be clean margins or not. When I had a lumpectomy, the margins were not clean, so I had to go back the following week for a re- excision to take out more tissue. The margins were still not clear. The next step was a mastectomy. As it turned out, my medical oncologist wanted me to start receiving Herceptin and chemo ASAP, so the mastectomy was postponed. I never did have the mastectomy; I had radiation instead once chemo was finished. I'm still on Herceptin for a few more months. I believe they felt all this treatment would take care of any remaining cancer, which was DCIS.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      That the cancer was close to end of breast taken off

      5 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am currently in the process of getting weekly fills in my tissue expanders. I'm finding the days after my fills to be quite painful. Has anyone else experienced this and if so, how do you deal with the pain.

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 4 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My PS suggested that I have smaller quantities 30 cc . I had no pain@ all but it took longer to reach my goal 350cc Full 34b. Nurses taught great arm stretch excersise to stretch the muscle it helped tremendously. Nurse said some women suggest larger fill amounts to get it over quicker for...

      more

      My PS suggested that I have smaller quantities 30 cc . I had no pain@ all but it took longer to reach my goal 350cc Full 34b. Nurses taught great arm stretch excersise to stretch the muscle it helped tremendously. Nurse said some women suggest larger fill amounts to get it over quicker for work or personal but pay the price in pain later. I took no medication throughout. Prayers

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Yes! Feels like an elephant sitting on your chest! Tough to breath sometimes, too. Ugh! Taking Motrin before the fills and for 48 hours after helped. You can ask your PS to put less saline in each fill but you may have to go an extra time or 2. Talk with your doctor... Some get prescription...

      more

      Yes! Feels like an elephant sitting on your chest! Tough to breath sometimes, too. Ugh! Taking Motrin before the fills and for 48 hours after helped. You can ask your PS to put less saline in each fill but you may have to go an extra time or 2. Talk with your doctor... Some get prescription meds. Hope you get some relief. Keep the questions coming! We care about you!

      Comment
  • Lisa M Profile

    I am currently taking Tamoxifen, but am now being switched to Arimidex as my oncologist stated that I am post menopausal :( Darn chemo!! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad not to have a period, but wasn't expecting menopause at 41 :(

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I hear you I too was switched from tamoxafen to arimidex because I'm menopausal now an excelerated rode to menopause. But hey got to be thankful we're alive hot flashes do suck though. Take care and know you are not alone

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Hi Alison

      Comment

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