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Types of Treatment
Based on your biopsy results and the type of cancer, you and your
doctor will decide the best treatment for your breast cancer. Here are
the treatments that may be done:
Surgery
Surgery is done to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Either
the whole breast is removed, called mastectomy, or a part of the
breast is removed, called lumpectomy. With either surgery, lymph
nodes under the arm are checked for cancer. You and your doctor may
also talk about reconstruction surgery. This surgery is done to create
the look of a normal breast.
You may still need to have more treatment. Having a mastectomy or
lumpectomy does not guarantee that the breast cancer is gone from the
entire body. Small cancer cells that are too small to detect may remain
in the body.
Radiation Therapy
When a lumpectomy is done, it is often followed by radiation
therapy
. Radiation therapy is done to treat the entire breast. Radiation
therapy often begins 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Hormone Therapy and Chemotherapy
Treatment may be needed to target cancer cells that may be remaining
in the body. It may be done before surgery to shrink a tumor or after
surgery to kill cancer cells that may have spread or that remain in the
body.
Hormone therapy is medicine in pill form taken to work against
estrogen in the body. The most common side effect is signs of
menopause.
Chemotherapy is medicine given in an IV (intravenous) tube in a
vein or as a pill. The medicine kills cancer cells. Common side
effects include feeling tired, hair loss and nausea. These side
effects are often temporary.