When it comes to breast cancer treatment, radiation can seem like a walk in the park compared to major surgery and months of chemotherapy. For me, it was a breeze. I had already survived a lumpectomy and chemotherapy before my turn at radiation. I’d endured hair loss, nausea, low blood counts, fever, two hospitalizations, and a blood transfusion. Radiation couldn’t – and didn’t – even compare. But it’s still quite a process, and what follows will shed some light on how you might breeze through radiation. It’s all quite do-able – if you know what to expect. Preparation for Radiation If your doctor has prescribed radiation as part of your treatment plan, preparation is key. Radiation is a detailed, precise process that aims to kill cancer cells in the breast while sparing healthy cells in the same area. It’s administered by a machine that accelerates charged particles and shoots them at a target that generates photons. Photons travel...
Breast cancer isn’t so bad – it’s the treatment that’s tough! Many of us have had that thought as we’ve made our way through breast cancer treatment. Surgery, radiation, chemo, and long-term drugs all have their own challenges.
If you’ve chosen to treat your breast cancer, you can’t avoid the rough spots. But knowing what to expect along the way – from deciding what treatment to have, to going through it, to dealing with the side effects (both immediate, and long-term) – is a big help. Knowledge is power. It also diffuses fear. Arm yourself with information, and you’ll be better able to handle those treatment challenges! Let’s begin with your medical team. Understand that you’ll be dealing with some of your cancer doctors for a long time – perhaps the rest of your life. It’s critical that you have personnel in place that you trust, and with whom you feel comfortable. •Picking a Breast Cancer D...
Local treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy are given to treat the invasive ductal carcinoma itself and any nearby areas that may be affected by cancer, such as the chest and lymph nodes.
People with invasive ductal carcinoma need surgery not only to remove the breast tumor itself, but also to confirm whether or not cancer is in the lymph nodes. You will work with your doctor to determine what type of surgery is right for you, based on the stage and grade of the cancer and other factors specific to your situation.
In most cases, surgery is the first treatment for invasive ductal carcinoma. However, if the tumor is large or the cancer has spread to many lymph nodes or other parts of the body, treatments such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy may be given first to shrink the cancer.
Possible surgical procedures include the following:
Lumpectomy : The surgeon removes only the tumor (the “lump”) and some of the normal tissue that surrounds it. Sometimes, axillary (un...
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