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Breast Cancer

Process treatment after 20 years in remission

09/10/2007

Question:

What new procedures are there compared to 20 years ago? On my remaining breast they found an intraductal malignancy....very minute. Am going in 2 weeks to find out, but can`t wait...I still have nightmares over my 1st mastectomy...any insight ....Thank You

Answer:

It is now uncommon to do a mastectomy for small breast cancers.  If this is a noninvasive cancer (intraductal), you should be able to have a lumpectomy (with a wire to mark the spot to be removed) followed by radiation therapy.  Radiation is an invisible beam of energy that kills cancer cells.  The lymph nodes are usually are not removed if you have noninvasive cancer.  If this is invasive cancer, then some of the nodes will be removed through a relatively new operation called a sentinel lymph node biopsy which is done at the same time as the lumpectomy. 

Chemotherapy is not necessary if the cancer is intraductal.  Sometimes hormonal therapy (pill) is given.  The final recommendation for medicine will be decided once the surgery has been done.

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Response by:

Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS Jean T Stevenson, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University