A breast cancer diagnosis is most often an unexpected journey-a journey you didn’t choose. Breast cancer is not a medical emergency, but we do understand it is a psychological emergency. We at the Chicago Breast Center understand everyone’s journey through breast cancer is different and unique to their circumstances. It is our goal to empower you with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the next steps in your evaluation and treatment. We do this by providing organized, pertinent information through thorough consultation discussions, step-by-step guides, worksheets, web links and videos.
Breast cancer surgery may involve breast conservation surgery (lumpectomy) or breast removal (mastectomy). Your breast surgeon will make a recommendation based on your individual issue, but, in some cases, both may be options for effective treatment of your cancer. In this setting, the ultimate decision may be your own. Recommendations for additional treatments may vary depending on the type of surgery you decide to have and the stage of your breast cancer.
Breast reconstruction is more often needed after mastectomy, but is possible after either option.
Chemotherapy And Radiation Therapy
Recommendations regarding other treatments in addition to surgery are often made after final pathology is available. In some cases, chemotherapy may be pursued prior to surgery, especially if lumpectomy is desired in the setting of a larger tumor. In most cases, however, follow up treatments are pursued after surgery is complete.
Chemotherapy is a group of drugs given intravenously to kill any cells that may have escaped to other parts of the body prior to surgery. It is most often performed with patients who have larger tumors or if they have involvement of the lymph nodes. Due to highly directed chemotherapy options, some patients receive chemotherapy depending on their oncotype. This can be further discussed with a medical oncologist.
Radiation therapy is recommended for nearly all patients who have lumpectomy surgery, and is less often needed for patients who have had mastectomy. It is usually administered 5 days a week for 6-7 weeks. Radiation therapy reduces recurrence in the breast area locally, so is a very important addition to some patient’s therapy, but can significantly affect reconstruction because it makes the tissues tighter.