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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

  • Sylvia Anderson Profile

    After chemo and radiation, is it normal to have swelling and soreness about 3 months later?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Astrid Llorente Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      The area has been applied radiation treatment may be red, sensitive or irritated in the days, weeks and months that treatment, or afterwards. The skin may swell, wrinkle or change the texture. Most of the problems associated with the skin are temporary. Thank you

      Comment
    • Liz B Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Is the swelling in your arm, armpit, or chest? If so, and you had lymph nodes removed, you should ask your surgeon about the possibility of it being lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition where the arm and/or chest swell due to the removal of lymph nodes. It's treated with special massage...

      more

      Is the swelling in your arm, armpit, or chest? If so, and you had lymph nodes removed, you should ask your surgeon about the possibility of it being lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition where the arm and/or chest swell due to the removal of lymph nodes. It's treated with special massage techniques and compression sleeves or bandaging.

      Comment
  • Chelita M Profile

    Is the second round of chemotherapy worst than the first?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Are you on Adriamyicin/Cytoxin for your first rounds? And Taxol for your next? If that's the case....my rounds of Taxol were quite a bit easier on me. I was tired but had less nausea than before. I had some changes with my nails (flattened out) as well.

      1 comment
    • Chelita M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I don't know, I will ask my doctor. I know I am taking: herceptin, cerbotec, onicit among others. Btw, smoking marijuana could help cure cancer?

      1 comment
  • Alglen Thelex Garay Profile

    Is it ok to have a haircut? It's my mom's 3rd week after her 1st chemotherapy... she's complaining about her hair since she is used to a short boy cut. Is it okay to go to the salon and have a haircut? Any suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I found it easier to cut it on my own terms. .I did two cuts over 2 weeks. Then 3 days later it fell out at which time I just shaved it off. Now I'm choosing to stay super short for summer. Let her do what feels right!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      For some reason, my hair falling out was one of the most disturbing side effects. I could not stand the falling-out-in-clumps part of it all. I took my horse clippers and shaved my head.
      As for your mom, I would take my cues from how she is feeling. If she wants to go have a haircut, a buzz...

      more

      For some reason, my hair falling out was one of the most disturbing side effects. I could not stand the falling-out-in-clumps part of it all. I took my horse clippers and shaved my head.
      As for your mom, I would take my cues from how she is feeling. If she wants to go have a haircut, a buzz cut, whatever, I would encourage her to go. She will probably have little stubbles that remain and will eventually fall out. You can celebrate by buying some colorful scarves, and learning (on the internet) how to tie them. If she wants to go the wig route, there are some very attractive styles. It is whatever makes her feel the best about herself. Your Mom is so lucky to have your loving care for her. It will only make her feel a lot better throughout her treatment. Take care, and big hugs to your mom. Sharon .

      1 comment
  • teresa clark Profile

    Fatigue but no nausea/vomiting for my first chemo treatment!! Can I expect the experience to stay that way?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      The steroids kept me feeling pretty good for the first 2-3 days after treatment and then I'd start to feel cruddy. I never actually vomited (well, ok, I did twice, but it was random and I wasn't even feeling that bad at the time!). Mostly I just felt like a constant nagging queasiness, never...

      more

      The steroids kept me feeling pretty good for the first 2-3 days after treatment and then I'd start to feel cruddy. I never actually vomited (well, ok, I did twice, but it was random and I wasn't even feeling that bad at the time!). Mostly I just felt like a constant nagging queasiness, never really like a full-on nausea, if you know what I mean. Good luck!! And keep up the positive attitude!!! I swear, it makes a world of difference to just convince yourself that you feel ok (even when you really don't ;)

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Teresa,
      It is difficult to predict how anyone will feel. I felt as you do, fatigue and no nausea. If you go back to work, be SURE to be aware your immune system is compromised. I don't know how much exposure you have with the public but become a bit of a "germaphobic" while you are going...

      more

      Teresa,
      It is difficult to predict how anyone will feel. I felt as you do, fatigue and no nausea. If you go back to work, be SURE to be aware your immune system is compromised. I don't know how much exposure you have with the public but become a bit of a "germaphobic" while you are going through treatment. Wash your hands often, and don't be touching your eyes, nose, mouth, face. This is a serious flu that is going around. You do not need to pick it up! Take care, Sharon

      1 comment

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