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Home > Comman Type of Cancer > Breast Cancer treatment Choices

Breast Cancer treatment Choices

treatment Choices

Women with breast cancer now have many treatment options. Many women want to learn all they can about the disease and their treatment choices so that they can take an active part in decisions about their medical care. They are likely to have many questions and concerns about their treatment options.

The doctor is the best person to answer questions about breast cancer treatments for a particular patient: what her treatment choices are and how successful her treatment is expected to be. Most patients also want to know how they will look after treatment and whether they will have to change their normal activities. A woman should not feel that she needs to ask all her questions or understand all the answers at once. She will have many chances to ask the doctor to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more information.

A woman may want to talk with her doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new methods in breast cancer treatments. Clinical trials are an important option for women with all stages of breast cancer . The "Research on Staging and treatment" part of "The Promise of Cancer Research" section has more information.

A woman's treatment options depend on a number of factors. These factors include her age and menopausal status; her general health; the size and location of the tumor and the stage of the cancer; the results of lab tests; and the size of her breast. Certain features of the tumor cells (such as whether they depend on hormones to grow) are also considered. In most cases, the most important factor is the stage of the disease. The stage is based on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. The following are brief descriptions of the stages of breast cancer and the treatments most often used for each stage. (Other treatments may sometimes be appropriate.)
  • Stage 0 is sometimes called noninvasive carcinoma or carcinoma in situ.

  • Lobular carcinoma in situ LCIS) refers to abnormal cells in the lining of a lobule. These abnormal cells seldom become invasive cancer. However, their presence is a sign that a woman has an increased risk of developing breast cancer . This risk of cancer is increased for both breasts. Some women with LCIS may take a drug called tamoxifen, which can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer . Others may take part in studies of other promising new preventive treatments. Some women may choose not to have treatment, but to return to the doctor regularly for checkups. And, occasionally, women with LCIS may decide to have surgery to remove both breasts to try to prevent cancer from developing. (In most cases, removal of underarm lymph nodes is not necessary.)

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) refers to abnormal cells in the lining of a duct. DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma. The abnormal cells have not spread beyond the duct to invade the surrounding breast tissue. However, women with DCIS are at an increased risk of getting invasive breast cancer . Some women with DCIS have breast-sparing surgery followed by radiation therapy. Or they may choose to have a mastectomy, with or without breast reconstruction (plastic surgery) to rebuild the breast. Underarm lymph nodes are not usually removed. Also, women with DCIS may want to talk with their doctor about tamoxifen to reduce the risk of developing invasive breast cancer .
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