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Health Issues

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Breast Cancer

Treatment and Care

Treatment is based on many factors, including type and stage of the breast cancer, whether the cancer is sensitive to certain hormones, and whether or not the cancer overproduces (over expresses) a gene called HER2/neu.

In general, cancer treatments may include:

  • Chemotherapy medicines to kill cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissue
  • Surgery to remove cancerous tissue -- a lumpectomy removes the breast lump; mastectomy removes all or part of the breast and possible nearby structures
  • Hormonal therapy to block certain hormones that fuel cancer growth
  • Targeted therapy to interfere with cancer cell grow and function
  • Most women receive a combination of treatments.
  • New, improved treatments are helping persons with breast cancer live longer than ever before. However, even with treatment, breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes, cancer returns even after the entire tumor is removed and nearby lymph nodes are found to be cancer-free.
  • You may experience side effects or complications from cancer treatment. For example, radiation therapy may cause temporary swelling of the breast, and aches and pains around the area. Ask your doctor about the side effects you may have during treatment.