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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

  • Kavita Vora Profile

    It's been 9 months since my last chemo and 5 months since the end of my treatment. Lately, my hair has been falling at the same rate as it was during chemo and I always sweat and feel hot. Is it normal? Any suggestion to prevent hair loss?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 1 answer
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Are you on Tamoxifen? That can do everything you are experiencing. I'm 11 months out of chemo and 9 months out of rads my hair is just now really growing. Some days I have hot flashes but it is better. 5 days ago I swear I had a full on chemo day.

      Comment
  • Michelle Lower Profile

    Does having a double mastectomy make you feel like an amputee?? Im also worried about depression?? anyone else??

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Patient

      No not an amputee , but sometimes I feel like I'm missing something. I get sad often but not depressed to need meds you get stronger each day but it takes time and learning makes you more confident.

      2 comments
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      No, I didn't feel that way. Or depressed. I knew I was doing the right thing. This is what I needed to do to save my life. We took lots of pictures, from every angle, lol. Just to have. I don't miss my old national geographic boobs at all. Love my new firm perky ones tho! I sometimes wish I had...

      more

      No, I didn't feel that way. Or depressed. I knew I was doing the right thing. This is what I needed to do to save my life. We took lots of pictures, from every angle, lol. Just to have. I don't miss my old national geographic boobs at all. Love my new firm perky ones tho! I sometimes wish I had feeling in them, but you get used to it. Prayers to you.

      Comment
  • Donna Gray Profile

    Has anyone had health issues with silicone implants? I want silicone implants to replace my saline- they are very filled and hard. I had a mastectomy in 2011.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I chose not to do implants at all. I'm doing the DIEP flap. It's the right thing for me.

      3 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I had silicone implants in 1979 for cosmetic reasons. Had them for twenty seven years with o problems. They were beautiful! Only had them out when I was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a bi-lat. I loved them.

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    The surgeon said he removed 25 lymph nodes and 10 were cancerous. Does this mean it has probably spread elsewhere? Are these numbers normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more...

      more

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more afterwards. When they found the positive nodes...some of them were "extranodal" meaning the cancer had broken outside some of the lymph nodes. That was the reason I needed more chemo. I'm going through radiation now. I'm also happy to say that my last PET scan showed no cancer!! Voice your concerns with our Dr. Yes, let us know how you are. Prayers to you. :)

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this...

      more

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this board, want to support every woman who is going through this journey. All of our stories are different but we all care for each other.
      Take care, Sharon

      4 comments

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