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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

  • Monique  cameron Profile

    How much time will I need off work following a mastectomy and radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • frances pensato Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation. For the mastectomy I needed 2 months to recover. You need time for it to heal but doing your stretches is very important. I am 9 months post surgery and still do my stretches. I am a flight attendant and am still off of work. if everything goes well I...

      more

      I had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation. For the mastectomy I needed 2 months to recover. You need time for it to heal but doing your stretches is very important. I am 9 months post surgery and still do my stretches. I am a flight attendant and am still off of work. if everything goes well I shall be back at work on Oct. 1 . You have to listen to your body. The radiation is easy , but the more sessions you have the more tired you get. each person is different an

      Comment
    • frances pensato Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sorry about that. Each person is different and it depends on what type of work you do. You will get through this and you will become stronger. I wish you all the best and am thinking of you.

      Comment
  • sylvia clark Profile

    Will my health suffer when I'm off my normal supplement routine? I normally take biotin, b12, calcium and others. I start chemo on June 12th and my doc wants me to stop taking which makes me a bit nervous.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sylvia,

      I think Vicki E's statement is so correct. Set aside your apprehension and concentrate on getting through your treatments. At this stage, your supplements may be doing more harm than good. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Sylvia they told me to quit taking my supplements during chemo too. I guess the thinking is you dont want your cells (good and bad) to be strong enough to resist the chemo. Makes sense when you think about it like that. Let that nasty chemo do its job

      Comment
  • Patricia Stoop Profile

    Does this numbness ever go away? The numbness along with double mastectomy scars makes me feel like I've been walloped with a 2 x 4.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had my mastectomy six months ago and I would say I have about 90 percent of feeling back so it will get better with time. Good luck

      Comment
    • Debbie Carss Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Mine was 2010 and I got most feeling back on my right side some spots are still numb. I was told after two years if u don't get it back by then forget it. Not me I beg to defer I do everything I can find to get this back. Good luck never give up.

      Comment
  • Tawonna Anthony Profile

    What if you get pregnant while undergoing chemotherapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    about 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Jessica Fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      It's very harmful to a fetus I was told that abortion would be the best option do I am havin my tubes tied

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Tawonna. This is what I found on the American Cancer Society:
      "Chemo usually is not given during the first 3 months of pregnancy (the first trimester). This is because most of the fetus’s internal organs develop during this time. The risk of miscarriage (losing the baby) is also the greatest...

      more

      Hi Tawonna. This is what I found on the American Cancer Society:
      "Chemo usually is not given during the first 3 months of pregnancy (the first trimester). This is because most of the fetus’s internal organs develop during this time. The risk of miscarriage (losing the baby) is also the greatest during the first trimester. The safety of chemo during this time has not been studied because of concerns about damage to the fetus.

      It was once thought that all chemo drugs would harm the fetus. But studies have shown that certain chemo drugs used during the second and third trimesters (the fourth through ninth months of pregnancy) do not raise the risk of birth defects, stillbirths, or health problems shortly after birth. But researchers still do not know whether these children will have any long-term effects.

      When a pregnant woman with early breast cancer needs adjuvant chemo after surgery, it’s usually delayed until at least the second trimester. If a woman is already in her third trimester when the cancer is found, the chemo may be delayed until after birth. The birth may be induced (brought on) a few weeks early in these cases. Depending on the extent of the cancer, these same treatment plans may also be used for women whose disease is more advanced.

      Chemo should not be given 3 to 4 weeks before delivery. This is because one side effect of chemo is that it lowers the mother’s blood counts. This could cause bleeding and increase the chances of infection during birth. Holding off on chemo for the last few weeks before delivery allows the mother’s blood counts to return to normal levels before childbirth."

      I have read about several women who have delivered healthy babies after having chemo. Best wishes to you. :)

      Comment

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