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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 1 - Introduction

Treatment Introduction
In recent years, due to earlier detection and more effective treatments, many women diagnosed with breast cancer overcome the disease and go on to live healthy lives.

Treatment Options Recommended By Your Health Care Provider
It’s important to understand the different types of treatment options available to you, because you are an integral part of your decision-making team. Your medical team will advocate certain treatments, but they will also seek your input.

They will recommend a plan based on:
- Stage of cancer and whether or not it has spread
- Type of cancer, and status of the estrogen, progesterone, or HER2/neu receptors found in the cancer cells
- Your age, health, and menstrual/menopausal stage
- And whether or not this is your first cancer treatment

In general, there are five treatment options, and most treatment plans include a combination of the following:
1) Surgery
2) Radiation
3) Hormone Therapy
4) Chemotherapy
5) Targeted Therapies

Some are local, targeting just the area around the tumor with surgery or radiation. Others are systemic, targeting your whole body with cancer-fighting agents such as chemotherapy.

Most women receive a combination of treatments, but each case is unique, and your medical team will work to find the most effective treatment for you.

Getting A Second Opinion
Even so, you may find yourself second-guessing their recommendations or suggested treatment plan. If you’re hesitant for any reason, you should get the opinion of another doctor before beginning treatment. Your doctor will not mind if you want a second opinion; some insurance plans even require it.

Again, don’t hesitate to ask your medical team questions. When it comes to getting a second opinion, you are your own best advocate.

Related Questions

  • Chris Johnson Profile

    If all the cancer was removed, why do I need chemotherapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Chris, cancer cells can be very tricky. Not all can be picked up on a PET scan etc. i was diagnosed stage 3C last May. I had to go through chemo twice. Once before my mastectomy, then after as well due to extensive lymph node involvement. It wasn't easy but I'm so glad I did!!! And I'd do it...

      more

      Hi Chris, cancer cells can be very tricky. Not all can be picked up on a PET scan etc. i was diagnosed stage 3C last May. I had to go through chemo twice. Once before my mastectomy, then after as well due to extensive lymph node involvement. It wasn't easy but I'm so glad I did!!! And I'd do it all over again. I show no evidence of disease now!! I feel very blessed.

      Comment
    • Leann Moeller Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sharon,

      1 comment
  • Judy Manfrede Profile

    I have been on the 5 year pill less than a year and was just wandering if the side affects will remain the same or get worse over time. I am just experiencing hot flashes and mood swings right now.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 1 answer
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I too have been on tamoxifen over a year. The flashes and anxiety got to be too much. I take Effexor and it helps a lot. I would think if your not doing too bad, it will only get better. Prayers to you.

      Comment
  • Brandi Carey Profile

    has any1 had to wait for reconstruction(expanders) for 6 months because of smoking?? if i quit why'd i have to wait 6 months?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I don't share this as a judgement because I come from a family of smokers and if i live to 80, i may take up a pipe with cherry tobacco. Setting aside lung damage, Smoking affects blood vessels , hence, circulation that is vital for oxygen for cell and skin health. My mom smoked all her life...

      more

      I don't share this as a judgement because I come from a family of smokers and if i live to 80, i may take up a pipe with cherry tobacco. Setting aside lung damage, Smoking affects blood vessels , hence, circulation that is vital for oxygen for cell and skin health. My mom smoked all her life before she died with lung cancer and her skin was like leather;no elasticity or stretching ) her identical twin looked 20 years younger. She couldn't even have open heart surgery because of the lungs.You will probably be under anesthesia for a while, depending on the type of surgery. Your lungs need to be as healthy as possible to guard against pneumonia and other complications . Every step in my treatment was prefaced with that question of smoking. I know it must be excruciatingly hard, but the one thing about women battling breast cancer , they're made of steel. Once they set their will, the obstacle may as well yield the way. You go girl and do it one minute at a time if need be and kick cancer's butt. :-)

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I wasn't a smoker. I waited to heal body, heart, sprit, and mind before I did reconstruction.

      Comment
  • Bonnie Irwin Profile

    Does anyone work while on chemo? I'll be on cyclophosphamide with adriamycin for 4 doses every two weeks, then taxol for 4 doses. My work is one hour commute. My 12 week FML will be up in May.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 15 answers
    • View all 15 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Bonnie. I began chemo in May of last year. I was on the exact same chemo meds as you my first go 'round. Four A/C then four dose dense Taxol. Every woman is different in their side effects etc. My job is very physically demanding & requires me to stand on my feet all day. At first I would work...

      more

      Hi Bonnie. I began chemo in May of last year. I was on the exact same chemo meds as you my first go 'round. Four A/C then four dose dense Taxol. Every woman is different in their side effects etc. My job is very physically demanding & requires me to stand on my feet all day. At first I would work the first 3 days of the week then take off for chemo and rest until the following Monday. I did this from my first treatment on May 30th to July 1st. I used FMLA in the beginning as well. I used the sick days I had accumulated during that time period (which weren't very many). I wanted to work as long as possible but I just became too tired and needed to take off for my own well being. Fortunately I had a long term disability plan through my employer that allowed me to take up to a year off on medical leave & I receive about half of my salary while I'm off. I feel so blessed to have it because my treatments have been longer than I thought in the beginning. I just finished my last radiation treatment on Tuesday and I hope to return to work next month. I would check with your human resource dept if you haven't done so already & see what all your options are. Also if you decide to take off for awhile...The American Cancer Society is an awesome source of all kinds of info and resources that can help you if needed. Hugs, Diana

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I've only had 1 of my 8 treatments and I have been able to work so far. I too will have them every two weeks. I hope others reply, because I would also like to know if working the entire time is possible.

      2 comments

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