Treatments for breast cancer

Treatment Types

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There are many breast cancer treatment options. By working closely with your doctor and by voicing your needs and concerns, you can find the one that’s right for you.

Operation

Most patients with breast cancer have an operation to remove the cancer from the breast. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm are usually taken out and examined to see if they contain cancer cells.

Breast-Conserving Surgeries

  • Lumpectomy: Operation to remove a tumour and a small amount of normal tissue around it.
  • Partial mastectomy: Operation to remove the part of the breast that has cancer and some normal tissue around it. This procedure also is called a segmental mastectomy.

Non-Breast Conserving Surgeries

  • Total mastectomy: Operation to remove the whole breast that has cancer. This procedure is also called a simple mastectomy. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may be removed for biopsy at the same time as the breast operation or after. This is done through a separate incision.
  • Modified radical mastectomy: Operation 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: Operation 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.

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