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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

  • Cecilia Clark Profile

    What kind of deodorant should I start using after recovering from mastectomy? I perspire a lot and was wondering if there are any safe antiperspirants.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    about 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Cecilia,
      If you are not having lymph nodes taken out of your armpit area, I don't think there is a restriction on using deodorant. Be sure to ask your surgeon about this.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      There has been quite a bit of research done on women's deodorants being the cause of breast cancer because they contain a form of aluminum. Tom's of Maine is safe and I use another brand (which looks totally cheesy but I love) called Crystal Essence. You could get either one at a local pharmacy...

      more

      There has been quite a bit of research done on women's deodorants being the cause of breast cancer because they contain a form of aluminum. Tom's of Maine is safe and I use another brand (which looks totally cheesy but I love) called Crystal Essence. You could get either one at a local pharmacy type store. Both bear the pink ribbon as being breast cancer awareness products!

      Comment
  • brandi z Profile

    I have to say my second AC treatment is going better than the first. I promised myself I would take my anti nausea every 6 hours as allowed and I've been eating normal food. This has helped my exhaustion on day two. Hoping day three isn't much worse.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Brandi... I'm glad your second A/C was easier on you! Each treatment was a little different for me. Are you doing 4 then Taxol afterwards?

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Brandi... I'm glad your second A/C was easier on you! Each treatment was a little different for me. Are you doing 4 then Taxol afterwards?

      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
  • Barbara Grondzki Profile

    I had my 1st chemo treatment on 1/25/12 and am experiencing some heart burn . Is this normal? I'm doing a lot of walking and drinking water and wonder if there is any thing to take or do for it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Barbara, yes it's a very normal side effect of chemo. When I first began chemo, my Oncologist prescribed protonix. It's an acid reflux med. that is taken once a day. Gastrointestinal problems are very common with chemo such as heartburn, nausea, constipation/diarrhea. Luckily there are some...

      more

      Hi Barbara, yes it's a very normal side effect of chemo. When I first began chemo, my Oncologist prescribed protonix. It's an acid reflux med. that is taken once a day. Gastrointestinal problems are very common with chemo such as heartburn, nausea, constipation/diarrhea. Luckily there are some great medications out there to help! :). Just talk to your Onc. I just finished my chemo treatments last week (16 of them). Best wishes Barbara & hang in there! :)

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Heart burn is one of the side effects I was put on somac but be careful side effect of antacid medication is anemia I needed a blood transfusion doesn't happen to every one but something to keep in mind my thought are with you

      Comment

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