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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

    Anyone just finishing AC-T (dose dense) treatment? I will be starting in a week and would love to hear your experience.

    Asked by anonymous

    about 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      This was not my regimen, but with any chemo it's not fun, but do-able. It does effect people differently. Usually days 2 & 3 or maybe 3 & 4 are worst. Tired, weak, queasy. After two weeks, you'll notice your hair falling out. It may even hurt. Like a ponytail too tight. Just own it, shave your...

      more

      This was not my regimen, but with any chemo it's not fun, but do-able. It does effect people differently. Usually days 2 & 3 or maybe 3 & 4 are worst. Tired, weak, queasy. After two weeks, you'll notice your hair falling out. It may even hurt. Like a ponytail too tight. Just own it, shave your head, and you'll feel so much better. If your going to wear a wig, get it now and take it to your hairdresser to cut and style. Some women continue to work, others don't. Drink lots of water to flush the chemo out, walk as much as you can and eat what tastes good. I used plastic utensils to help with the metal taste and ate salty &/or spicy foods. Along with a bottle of Tumms, lol. You can do this. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I was on ACT. I didn't find it to be horribly bad -- not as bad as I expected. However, watch out for allergic reactions. I had a fairly severe reaction to Taxotere toward the end of my treatments. A bad rash, mainly.

      Comment
  • Karen Milburn Profile

    triple neg type , t2 , grade 2 , 1 lymph node , chemo first then surgery , then radiation. anyone have statics on if lumpectomy or mastecomy is better , i heard it can re-occur with either surgery. Any advise?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    about 5 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      I was diagnosed with TNBC stage 2A Grade 3 no lymph nodes with cancer. I had a lumpectomy , 16 rounds of chemo, 25 radiation treatments and that was 7 years ago. I remain Cancer Free and took the advise that my oncologist recommend since she was the professional at this. Ask your Dr for their...

      more

      I was diagnosed with TNBC stage 2A Grade 3 no lymph nodes with cancer. I had a lumpectomy , 16 rounds of chemo, 25 radiation treatments and that was 7 years ago. I remain Cancer Free and took the advise that my oncologist recommend since she was the professional at this. Ask your Dr for their recommendation as your decision will also depend on your age, family history, etc. best of luck in making your decision. My prayers and thoughts are with you!!!

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      There are doctors that specialize in Triple Negative breast cancer. That might be the best way to get the you are looking for. I'm not triple negative I started with a lumpectomy after treaent was done and went back and did a bi lat mastectomy. I just wanted them gone and safer breasts in their...

      more

      There are doctors that specialize in Triple Negative breast cancer. That might be the best way to get the you are looking for. I'm not triple negative I started with a lumpectomy after treaent was done and went back and did a bi lat mastectomy. I just wanted them gone and safer breasts in their place.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    If the chemotherapy you are doing is making you really sick is it worth it to continue?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Adrienne private Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      thanks to a horrible 6 month chemo treatment ( I even ended up in hospital twice) my 1 tumor was GONE, my largest tumor shrank greatly, and the tumor on my lymph node shrank too. So, I say YES it is worth it. Chemo is rough, but was well worth it for me. It made my mastectomy easier and...

      more

      thanks to a horrible 6 month chemo treatment ( I even ended up in hospital twice) my 1 tumor was GONE, my largest tumor shrank greatly, and the tumor on my lymph node shrank too. So, I say YES it is worth it. Chemo is rough, but was well worth it for me. It made my mastectomy easier and shortened my radiation from 35 treatments to 28 treatments due to the tumor shrinkage.

      Comment
    • R. SUTHERLAND Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Absolutely!!!!

      Comment
  • Morgan Moser Profile

    I'm having sentinel node surgery on Tuesday and then chemo. (because the lump is 4.5cm) Are there any other options?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Morgan, I had a tumor about 3.5 cm and they knew I had positive nodes through biopsy. I started with chemo (my choice) and then did surgery. The rationale was, as Sharon suggested, to see if the tumor would shrink, thus giving me another option outside of mastectomy. In the end, I had a total...

      more

      Morgan, I had a tumor about 3.5 cm and they knew I had positive nodes through biopsy. I started with chemo (my choice) and then did surgery. The rationale was, as Sharon suggested, to see if the tumor would shrink, thus giving me another option outside of mastectomy. In the end, I had a total response to the chemo. Translation=the tumor was completely gone and the nodes tested clean. I then had breast conservation surgery (area of tissue was removed and the rest was 'rearranged,' if you will, to reshape the breast) and had 14 nodes removed. It seems odd that they would go ahead and remove nodes, which was probably the mor painful part of any surgery for me, BEFORE the chemo. As usual, I agree with Sharon! You might want to call tomorrow and tell them you'd like some more information, rationale, and the chance to get a second opinion. Good luck!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Morgan,
      My advice is a second opinion. So as I understand your surgery, they are just taking out the sentinel nodes and not the lumpectomy or mastectomy until a later date? I wish I had a treatment to suggest but only being a fellow breast cancer survivor I don't know. The only other...

      more

      Morgan,
      My advice is a second opinion. So as I understand your surgery, they are just taking out the sentinel nodes and not the lumpectomy or mastectomy until a later date? I wish I had a treatment to suggest but only being a fellow breast cancer survivor I don't know. The only other treatment I have heard of is to have a course of chemo treatment before having surgery to see if your tumor will shrink. Of course, they are looking for cell in your sentinel nodes. I ended up having cells in one of my 5 sentinel nodes but it didn't change my treatment plan. I was slated for chemo. anyway. It just changed my stage from 2A to 2B. Morgan, if you aren't settled with your treatment, tell your doctor. You need to chew this over with your surgeon a bit more. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment

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