Develop a treatment plan with your doctors
Now that you’ve been diagnosed, what treatment options are best for your stage of breast cancer? The benefit of being diagnosed early means there are options beyond mastectomy and whole breast radiation. While you will be working with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that’s best for you, here's some additional information on significant treatment procedures, as well as the latest advancements in breast cancer treatment that you may want to consider:
A mastectomy means removing the breast.
• Total (simple) mastectomy: Surgery to remove the whole breast that has cancer. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may be removed for biopsy at the same time as the breast surgery or after. This is done through a separate incision.
• Modified radical mastectomy: Surgery to remove the whole breast that has cancer, many of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes, part of the chest wall muscles.
• Radical mastectomy: Surgery to remove the breast that has cancer, chest wall muscles under the breast, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm. This procedure is sometimes called a Halsted radical mastectomy.
A lumpectomy is commonly referred to as “breast conservation therapy” because it works to remove the breast tissue with cancer instead of the whole breast. Following lumpectomy, radiation therapy may be needed to help prevent your cancer from returning.
Sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure to determine if your cancer has spread beyond the tumor into your lymph nodes.
Whole Breast Radiation vs. Partial Breast Radiation
After your breast surgery, you may have to make a radiation choice. Which decision is your best option: whole breast radiation or partial breast? There's a lot to know! We’re here to break it down for you to help you become better informed.
Whole breast radiation treats the entire breast using an external beam to deliver high doses of radiation over a long period of time. Traditional radiation therapy requires an extended treatment schedule that includes daily trips to a medical facility for 6 to 7 weeks and can be a major interruption on your family, work and your life—costing you time and money.
Partial breast radiation delivers a higher dose of radiation to a smaller area of the breast over a shorter period of time, typically over 5 days. Because you are receiving less radiation to healthy skin and tissue, and because this radiation is targeted to the area surrounding the lumpectomy cavity, side effects from the radiation may be minimized.
Other treatment options
Chemoprevention is the preventive measure of taking medications to prevent cells from developing into certain types of cancer if you are known to be at high risk.1
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that either blocks the production of hormones (aromatase inhibitors) or blocks their target (the hormone receptor site – tamoxifen) and therefore, helps reduce systemic recurrence (cancer recurrence in your body, outside the breast).
The safety and effectiveness of the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS), MammoSite ML Radiation Therapy System and the Contura Applicator as a replacement for whole breast irradiation in the treatment of breast cancer has not been established.