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If cancer is found in the sentinel lymph nodes, your surgeon will discuss with you the role of removing additional lymph nodes in your armpit.
Removing both breasts. Some women with cancer in one breast may choose to have their other healthy breast removed contralateral prophylactic mastectomy if they have a very increased risk of cancer in the other breast because of a genetic predisposition or strong family history. Most women with breast cancer in one breast will never develop cancer in the other breast. Discuss your breast cancer risk with your doctor, along with the benefits and risks of this procedure.
Complications of breast cancer surgery depend on the procedures you choose. Breast cancer surgery carries a risk of pain, bleeding, infection and arm swelling lymphedema. You may choose to have breast reconstruction after surgery.
Discuss your options and preferences with your surgeon.
The Only Answer to Cancer : Defeating the Root Cause of All Disease
Consider a referral to a plastic surgeon before your breast cancer surgery. Your options may include reconstruction with a breast implant silicone or water or reconstruction using your own tissue. These operations can be performed at the time of your mastectomy or at a later date. Radiation therapy Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is typically done using a large machine that aims the energy beams at your body external beam radiation.
But radiation can also be done by placing radioactive material inside your body brachytherapy.
External beam radiation of the whole breast is commonly used after a lumpectomy. Breast brachytherapy may be an option after a lumpectomy if you have a low risk of cancer recurrence.
Doctors may also recommend radiation therapy to the chest wall after a mastectomy for larger breast cancers or cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes. Breast cancer radiation can last from three days to six weeks, depending on the treatment. A doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer radiation oncologist determines which treatment is best for you based on your situation, your cancer type and the location of your tumor. Side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue and a red, sunburn-like rash where the radiation is aimed.
Breast tissue may also appear swollen or more firm. Rarely, more-serious problems may occur, such as damage to the heart or lungs or, very rarely, second cancers in the treated area. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy fast-growing cells, such as cancer cells.
If your cancer has a high risk of returning or spreading to another part of your body, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy after surgery to decrease the chance that the cancer will recur. Chemotherapy is sometimes given before surgery in women with larger breast tumors. The goal is to shrink a tumor to a size that makes it easier to remove with surgery. Chemotherapy is also used in women whose cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy may be recommended to try to control the cancer and decrease any symptoms the cancer is causing. Chemotherapy side effects depend on the drugs you receive. Common side effects include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and an increased risk of developing an infection.
Rare side effects can include premature menopause, infertility if premenopausal , damage to the heart and kidneys, nerve damage, and, very rarely, blood cell cancer. Hormone therapy Hormone therapy — perhaps more properly termed hormone-blocking therapy — is used to treat breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. Doctors refer to these cancers as estrogen receptor positive ER positive and progesterone receptor positive PR positive cancers. Hormone therapy can be used before or after surgery or other treatments to decrease the chance of your cancer returning.
If the cancer has already spread, hormone therapy may shrink and control it. Treatments that can be used in hormone therapy include: Medications that block hormones from attaching to cancer cells selective estrogen receptor modulators Medications that stop the body from making estrogen after menopause aromatase inhibitors Surgery or medications to stop hormone production in the ovaries Hormone therapy side effects depend on your specific treatment, but may include hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.
More serious side effects include a risk of bone thinning and blood clots. Targeted therapy drugs Targeted drug treatments attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells.
As an example, several targeted therapy drugs focus on a protein that some breast cancer cells overproduce called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 HER2. The protein helps breast cancer cells grow and survive. By targeting cells that make too much HER2, the drugs can damage cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
Targeted therapy drugs that focus on other abnormalities within cancer cells are available. And targeted therapy is an active area of cancer research. Your cancer cells may be tested to see whether you might benefit from targeted therapy drugs.
Some medications are used after surgery to reduce the risk that the cancer will return. Others are used in cases of advanced breast cancer to slow the growth of the tumor.
Immunotherapy Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your body's disease-fighting immune system may not attack your cancer because the cancer cells produce proteins that blind the immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfering with that process. Immunotherapy might be an option if you have triple-negative breast cancer, which means that the cancer cells don't have receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2.
For triple-negative breast cancer, immunotherapy is combined with chemotherapy to treat advanced cancer that's spread to other parts of the body. Supportive palliative care Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care. Palliative care can be used while undergoing other aggressive treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
When palliative care is used along with all of the other appropriate treatments, people with cancer may feel better and live longer. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for people with cancer and their families.
This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you may be receiving. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic Clinical trials Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.
Alternative medicine No alternative medicine treatments have been found to cure breast cancer. But complementary and alternative medicine therapies may help you cope with side effects of treatment when combined with your doctor's care. Alternative medicine for fatigue Many breast cancer survivors experience fatigue during and after treatment that can continue for years. When combined with your doctor's care, complementary and alternative medicine therapies may help relieve fatigue.
Talk with your doctor about: Gentle exercise. If you get the OK from your doctor, start with gentle exercise a few times a week and add more if you feel up to it. Consider walking, swimming, yoga or tai chi. Managing stress. Take control of the stress in your daily life. Try stress-reduction techniques such as muscle relaxation, visualization, and spending time with friends and family. Expressing your feelings. Find an activity that allows you to write about or discuss your emotions, such as writing in a journal, participating in a support group or talking to a counselor.
Coping and support A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. And just when you're trying to cope with the shock and the fears about your future, you're asked to make important decisions about your treatment.
When you treat a tumor for the first time, there is hope that the treatment will destroy the cancer cells and keep them from returning. But if your tumor keeps growing, even with treatment, there is a lower chance that more treatment will help.
This is especially true for solid-tumor cancers, like breast, colon, and lung cancer, and sarcoma. Doctors know a lot about how these cancers grow or shrink over time and how they respond to treatment. They have found that treatment after treatment offers little or no benefit. When is it time to think about stopping cancer treatment? If you have had three different treatments and your cancer has grown or spread, more treatment usually will not help you feel better or increase your chance of living longer.
Instead, more treatment could cause serious side effects that shorten your life and reduce the quality of the time you have left. Still, almost half of people with advanced cancer keep getting chemotherapy—even when it has almost no chance of helping them. They end up suffering when they should not have to. How do you know when to stop treatment?
It can be hard for both the patient and the doctor to talk about stopping treatment for the cancer and focus on end-of-life care. You may need to start the discussion. Your doctor should give you clear answers to any questions you ask. You need to understand how advanced your cancer is. Ask your doctor about the stage of your cancer and how much it has spread. The drugs can also help shrink tumors, but the side effects can be severe. Hormone therapy involves taking medications that change how certain hormones work or interfere with the body's ability to produce them.
When hormones play a significant role, as with prostate and breast cancers , this is a common approach.
Immunotherapy uses medications and other treatments to boost the immune system and encourage it to fight cancerous cells. Two examples of these treatments are checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive cell transfer. Precision medicine, or personalized medicine, is a newer, developing approach. It involves using genetic testing to determine the best treatments for a person's particular presentation of cancer.
Researchers have yet to show that it can effectively treat all types of cancer, however. Radiation therapy uses high-dose radiation to kill cancerous cells. Also, a doctor may recommend using radiation to shrink a tumor before surgery or reduce tumor-related symptoms.
The Only Answer to Cancer : Defeating the Root Cause of All Disease
Stem cell transplant can be especially beneficial for people with blood-related cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma. It involves removing cells, such as red or white blood cells, that chemotherapy or radiation has destroyed.
Lab technicians then strengthen the cells and put them back into the body. Surgery is often a part of a treatment plan when a person has a cancerous tumor.He moved to Charleston, S. The five years of study of the Dr. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.
Some alternative treatments which have been investigated and shown to be ineffective continue to be marketed and promoted. What will cancer treatment cost? Start Here. William Kelley , Metabolic.
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