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Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Part of the Breast Cancer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have many treatment options available depending on a variety of factors. You can discuss the options with your doctor and your loved ones to decide the best course for you.

Common treatments for breast cancer include

  • Surgery: Everyone with breast cancer has some form of surgery. You might undergo one of these procedures:

    Lumpectomy: Removing the cancerous lump and some of the surrounding tissue.

    Mastectomy: Removing the breast tissue.

    Reconstructive surgery: Surgery to rebuild your breast. You decide if and when you want it.

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation involves beaming x-rays or gamma rays at the cancer cells to damage or destroy them.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a combination of medications that reaches all the parts of your body, and kills the cancer cells that may remain after surgery and radiation. Its purpose is to prevent a recurrence of the cancer and to increase your chances of survival.

  • Hormone therapy: Hormonal treatments such as tamoxifen are used to both prevent and treat breast cancer.

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