Breast CancerBreast Cancer Treatment

Let's Talk About Breast Cancer Treatment

There are many approaches to treating breast cancer. Understanding your options can help you feel confident in the decisions you make.

    Our Pro PanelBreast Cancer Treatment

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in breast cancer to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Veronica Jones, M.D.

    Veronica Jones, M.D.Breast Cancer Surgeon and Assistant Clinical Professor

    City of Hope
    Los Angeles, CA
    Zahi Mitri, M.D.

    Zahi Mitri, M.D.Breast Cancer Oncologist

    The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
    Portland, OR
    Jack Jacoub, M.D.

    Jack Jacoub, M.D.Medical Oncologist and Medical Director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute

    Orange Coast Medical Center
    Fountain Valley, CA
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    Frequently Asked QuestionsBreast Cancer Treatment

    What are the treatment options for breast cancer?

    Treatment for breast cancer usually includes some combination of surgery, radiation, and medication. Your cancer care team—which usually includes a surgeon and oncologist—will make recommendations based on the stage of your cancer, specific characteristics of the tumor, recent research, and their own experience.

    What is the first line of treatment for breast cancer?

    Surgery is often the first step in breast cancer treatment. There are two main surgical options: A lumpectomy removes the tumor and some tissue surrounding it and a mastectomy removes all of the breast tissue (often including the nipple and areola). During these procedures, some nearby lymph nodes are also sometimes removed.

    What is the breast cancer survival rate?

    That depends on several things including the stage of cancer, type of tumor, and what treatments are available. On average, the five-year survival rate for invasive breast cancer is 90 percent. The 10-year survival rate is 83 percent. The 5-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer (that is, breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, also called "distant" cancer) is 27 percent.

    How bad are the chemo side effects?

    You’ve probably heard about some of the unpleasant experiences that go along with chemotherapy. They can include nausea, hair loss, mouth sores, and brain fog. It’s not easy, but there are other meds that your doctor can prescribe at the same time as chemo, which will help lessen these side effects and make treatment more tolerable.

    Sunny Sea Gold

    Sunny Sea Gold


    Sunny is a health journalist, book author, and essayist living in Portland, OR.