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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

  • shen cruces Profile

    Any thoughts on getting a port for chemo? I had a mastectomy and axillary nodes taken out so I can't have shots given on that arm. Not sure if my good arm, and the veins, will get super beat up during chemo. Any suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    almost 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Becky G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Shen,
      I highly recommend getting a port placed as well! I have been so pleased that my surgeon recommended that I get one. I have had great success receiving all 8 chemo treatments and getting blood draws from my port. I even got a rx for a lidocaine cream that I put on the spot where they...

      more

      Shen,
      I highly recommend getting a port placed as well! I have been so pleased that my surgeon recommended that I get one. I have had great success receiving all 8 chemo treatments and getting blood draws from my port. I even got a rx for a lidocaine cream that I put on the spot where they place the special needle. It numbs the spot perfectly so you really don't feel anything! It does save your veins and makes getting chemo a little more bare able!!!
      I also recommend waiting at least two weeks from the time you get your port placed (outpatient surgery) to the time you start your chemotherapy treatments. The area is tender and needs a little time to heal before you start using the port. My surgeon said that he could place my port and start chemo that same day, but I am so glad I didn't do that. It would have been miserable.
      You may want to check out http://www.happychemo.com
      and
      One last thing. There is a clothing company called Libre Clothing that makes special sweatshirts for those of us using a port or picc line. Very convenient zipper openings at the shoulder and arm area. I stretched out a few shirts before I found them. Just an FYI if you're looking for ways to make your experience with chemotherapy as "happy" as possible!!!
      I just completed my 8 rounds of chemo on Tuesday and I want you to know that it is not fun by any means but it is doable. Get support all around you (emotional, physical, spiritual). You'll do great!
      Hope this information helps!
      Hugs and prayers for you. :)
      Becky

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I also had a very similar experience as Becky. I had a port placed and my 1st chemo the same day. It was an outpatient procedure and I am sure it saved me another bit of pain. As Diana says the Adriamiacin will certainly act like "battery acid" so you don't want to have that stuff dripping on...

      more

      I also had a very similar experience as Becky. I had a port placed and my 1st chemo the same day. It was an outpatient procedure and I am sure it saved me another bit of pain. As Diana says the Adriamiacin will certainly act like "battery acid" so you don't want to have that stuff dripping on you! I would say this is a prudent recommendation by your oncologist and I would take advantage of it whole-heartedly. It makes the whole chemo treatments just a bit easier on you. My photo was taken during my "Christmas" infusion. The red stuff in the tubing is the Adriamiacin going in through the port in my upper chest. Hang in there! Sharon

      Comment
  • Alison Smith Profile

    Having trouble with my arms, hands & fingers two months out from chemo. Tingling and aching. I am on neurontin with little help. Anyone else have this problem & is so what helped?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Ask your doc if the neurontin can be increased. It is finally helping me after it was increased.

      3 comments
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      You might consider accupunture which doesn't have the nasty side effects of the drugs. Acupuncture worked for me quite well.

      3 comments
  • Rachael Leslie Profile

    My girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday. The appointment with the surgeon is next week to get specific answers. I want to do anything and everything I can to help her through this. Any advice is very much needed and appreciated!

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Rachael,
      How wonderful your dear friend has you standing by her side. She is probably going through the depths of the most terrifying hell right now. I agree with what Anne Marie has said. When I was diagnosed, my friends left me.... which was a horrendous shock. What she will need is your...

      more

      Rachael,
      How wonderful your dear friend has you standing by her side. She is probably going through the depths of the most terrifying hell right now. I agree with what Anne Marie has said. When I was diagnosed, my friends left me.... which was a horrendous shock. What she will need is your support. Go with her to her appointments.... the diagnostic ones will be particularly important. She will need someone to --take notes-- as she will never be able to remember most of what is being said. This is a step by step process. Try to keep her from going to the really dark side. There are a ton of positive stories and outcomes to this lousy diagnosis. We, here, are living proof. Some of the journey's have been very tough but these strong women are here to share their struggles and outcomes. You are a dear friend to want to help her through this battle. Please stay in touch with us, we are here to help you and her along her path. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      My heart goes out to you and your girlfriend cancer affects not only the patient but the loved ones also. The best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be at her side offer to go to all her doctor appts with her be her second set of ears ask those questions that she forgot to ask because...

      more

      My heart goes out to you and your girlfriend cancer affects not only the patient but the loved ones also. The best thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be at her side offer to go to all her doctor appts with her be her second set of ears ask those questions that she forgot to ask because when you are with the doctor we patients go blank I don't know how many times I was going to ask this that or the other thing and get into the office and I go blank my husband would just chime in for me Be patient with your girlfriend she will be on a whirlwind of emotions. Hold her tell her it's okay to talk about it all with you let her know your feelings also. My husband and I held each other up luckily one was always stronger then the other on those bad days. I have a link on my profile to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer in 2003. I take you from the initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and recovery with a reflection a year later. Even though my type of breast cancer or choice of treatment may be different I hope by sharing my experience it will help other women and there family. http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I'm having a lumpectomy this coming Monday. How can I prepare myself for surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • jen sou Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      I had nesting behavior a week before mine, I cleaned everything and got new sheets. Eat well the night before, take a bath, try to relax. Go get some comfy pjs for after! I looked up the procedures on YouTube , that made me feel better but I know not everyone wants to watch it. Bring something...

      more

      I had nesting behavior a week before mine, I cleaned everything and got new sheets. Eat well the night before, take a bath, try to relax. Go get some comfy pjs for after! I looked up the procedures on YouTube , that made me feel better but I know not everyone wants to watch it. Bring something to do at the hospital while you wait.

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I like what Jen Sou said above. She gave great advice. I would like to add a couple things. Be sure to get a sports bra that buckles in the front because sometimes you will just want to loosen it for a while. I got one from walmart that worked well. Wear a shirt that buttons or zips in the front...

      more

      I like what Jen Sou said above. She gave great advice. I would like to add a couple things. Be sure to get a sports bra that buckles in the front because sometimes you will just want to loosen it for a while. I got one from walmart that worked well. Wear a shirt that buttons or zips in the front on Monday too. So much easier to get on after surgery. A little pillow works well for under your arm but very small like size of a folded towel. Be sure to ask for something for nausea so you have it on hand in case you need it because the anesthesia sometimes does that. Please let us know how you are doing. Hugs!

      Comment

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