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Home > Comman Type of Cancer > Breast Cancer Treatment Methods

Breast Cancer Treatment Methods

In total mastectomy (simple), the surgeon removes the whole breast. Some lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.
In modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm, and, often, the lining over the chest muscles. The smaller of the two chest muscles also may be taken out to help in removing the lymph nodes.
In radical mastectomy (also called Halsted radical mastectomy), the surgeon removes the breast, both chest muscles, all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and some additional fat and skin. For many years, this operation was considered the standard one for women with breast cancer, but it is almost never used today. In rare cases, radical mastectomy may be suggested if the cancer has spread to the chest muscles
Here are some questions a woman may want to ask her doctor before having surgery:
  • What kinds of surgery can I consider? Is breast-sparing surgery an option for me? Which operation do you recommend for me? What are the risks of surgery?
  • Should I store some of my own blood in case I need a transfusion?
  • Do I need my lymph nodes removed? How many? Why? What special precautions will I need to take if lymph nodes are removed?
  • How will I feel after the operation?
  • Will I need to learn how to do special things to take care of myself or my incision when I get home?
  • Where will the scars be? What will they look like?
  • If I decide to have plastic surgery to rebuild my breast, how and when can that be done? Can you suggest a plastic surgeon for me to contact?
  • Will I have to do special exercises?
  • When can I get back to my normal activities?
  • Is there someone I can talk with who has had the same breast cancer treatments I'll be having?
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