Sex Contraception And Pregnancy
If you havent been through the menopause, its important to use contraception because chemotherapy drugs can harm a developing baby in the first three months of pregnancy. Its still possible to become pregnant even if your periods become irregular or stop completely.
Your specialist will usually recommend barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms. The contraceptive pill is not usually recommended because it contains hormones. Emergency contraception such as the morning after pill can still be used.
An interuterine device can be used as long as its not the type that releases hormones. If you have a coil in place that does release hormones, such as the Mirena or Jaydess, when youre diagnosed, you may be advised to have this removed.
How Fast Do Breast Tumors Grow
A 2018 study published in Breast Cancer looked at how breast tumors grew in between diagnosis and surgery, and found that 64% grew over the course of around 57 days. On average, those tumors grew by about 35%. Triple negative breast cancers, according to this study, were the most likely to be fast-growing.
A Few Facts About Time To Treatment:
- The average time from the date of cancer diagnosis to the day of lumpectomy surgery is about 32 days. The average time to mastectomy surgery is about 40 days.
- It can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months from cancer diagnosis to complete your final treatments, and up to ten years if you need hormonal therapy. It is a marathon. Conserve your emotional and physical efforts for the challenges ahead.
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What About My Physical And Emotional Wellness
Eating a healthy diet including a variety of foods will ensure you have what your body needs to cope with treatment and recovery. Regular physical activity can improve your recovery and reduce side effects such as fatigue.
- Donât be afraid to ask for professional and emotional support.
- Consider joining a cancer support group.
- Learn to ignore unwanted advice and âhorror storiesâ.
- Live day-to-day and remember that every day is likely to be different.
Complementary therapies can work alongside medical treatments and some have been shown to improve quality of life or reduce pain. There is no evidence that these therapies can cure or prevent cancer. Some have not been tested for side effects, may work against other medical treatments and may be expensive. Talk with your doctor about using complementary therapies. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.
Treatment Of Breast Cancer Stages I
The stage of your breast cancer is an important factor in making decisions about your treatment.
Most women with breast cancer in stages I, II, or III are treated with surgery, often followed by radiation therapy. Many women also get some kind of systemic drug therapy . In general, the more the breast cancer has spread, the more treatment you will likely need. But your treatment options are affected by your personal preferences and other information about your breast cancer, such as:
- If the cancer cells have hormone receptors. That is, if the cancer is estrogen receptor -positive or progesterone receptor -positive.
- If the cancer cells have large amounts of the HER2 protein
- How fast the cancer is growing
- Your overall health
- If you have gone through menopause or not
Talk with your doctor about how these factors can affect your treatment options.
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What Are The Chances Of Breast Cancer Recurrence After Treatment For Stage 2 Breast Cancer
In women who have breast-conserving treatment, the chance of recurrence is about 3-15% in 10 years, depending on tumor characteristics and margins. Distant recurrence in those who had mastectomy is most influenced by axillary lymph node involvement. When axillary lymph nodes are not cancerous, the recurrence rate is 6% in 5 years. When axillary lymph nodes are cancerous, the recurrence rate is 23% in 5 years with mastectomy but no radiation.
Treatment Of Metastatic Breast Cancer
For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.
- A clinical trial of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant.
- Clinical trials testing new anticancer drugs, new drug combinations, and new ways of giving treatment.
Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.
A Chance To Make Some Life Choices
Make sure your family and your officemates understand that just because treatment is over, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to jump right back into running the carpool, coaching soccer, and traveling to conferences a week out of every month.
“Everyone’s ready for treatment to be over, not just you, and although they’ve been supportive, your friends and family may be expecting you to spring back right away,” says McCabe. “It’s an education process. They need to understand that when the therapy stops, that doesn’t mean that the effects of the therapy stop immediately.”
Manage your expectations, urges Weiss. “Decrease the stress and the pressure on you in whatever ways you can. There are a lot of decisions you can make to take charge of how your life goes while you’re in this recovery process.”
For example, you may have certain ideas about how your house should look, how much income you’re going to have, and what your commitments to your community need to be. Decide which of those things are really important to you and which ones don’t matter quite as much. Let the less-important ones slide or find someone else to do them.
Gina Shaw is a medical writer who was treated for breast cancer in 2004, and now calls herself a “joyful breast cancer survivor.”
Signs Vs Symptoms Of Cancer
Signs and symptoms of disease can be two different things:
- A sign is something that can be observed by another person, such as a change in skin color or wheezing.
- A symptom is something you feel, such as fatigue or pain, that isnt obvious to others.
The nature of cancer signs and symptoms differ greatly, depending on where the cancer is located.
Bladder cancer, for instance, causes blood in the urine, while brain cancer triggers terrible headaches.
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can create many feelings and emotions. Since some breast cancer diagnoses come with a bleak outlook, its common to want to start a treatment plan as soon as possible.
This article is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of which factors play a role in your prognosis and what you should expect in the coming days, weeks and months following your diagnosis.
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Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
This section explains the types of treatments, also known as therapies, that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are encouraged to discuss with your doctor whether clinical trials are an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors learn through clinical trials whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less drug or radiation treatment or doing less extensive surgery than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.
Starting With Neoadjuvant Therapy
Most often, these cancers are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. For HER2-positive tumors, the targeted drug trastuzumab is given as well, often along with pertuzumab . This may shrink the tumor enough for a woman to have breast-conserving surgery . If the tumor doesnt shrink enough, a mastectomy is done. Nearby lymph nodes will also need to be checked. A sentinel lymph node biopsy is often not an option for stage III cancers, so an axillary lymph node dissection is usually done.
Often, radiation therapy is needed after surgery. If breast reconstruction is planned, it is usually delayed until after radiation therapy is done. For some, additional chemo is given after surgery as well.
After surgery, some women with HER2-positive cancers will be treated with trastuzumab for up to a year. Many women with HER2-positive cancers will be treated first with trastuzumab followed by surgery and then more trastuzumab for up to a year. If after neoadjuvant therapy, any residual cancer is found at the time of surgery, ado-trastuzumab emtansine may be used instead of trastuzumab. It is given every 3 weeks for 14 doses. For women with hormone receptor-positive cancer that is in the lymph nodes, who have completed a year of trastuzumab, the doctor might also recommend additional treatment with an oral targeted drug called neratinib for a year.
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Why Choose To Have Your Breast Radiation Therapy At Memorial Sloan Kettering
- In order to deliver radiation in the best possible way, it takes a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, therapists, physicists, and treatment planners. Our breast cancer team is one of the largest and most experienced in the country.
- Our radiation oncologists have access to and experience with every single form of radiation therapy available. There is not just one best type of radiation for all of the women we care for. But with our deep experience, we can select the best technique for each individual woman and tailor our approach as needed.
- Our team of medical physicists ensures that the radiation dose each woman receives is accurately and safely targeted to cancer tissue and spares nearby normal tissue.
- We consider the details of each unique woman. Our publications have demonstrated that our personalized care leads to superior outcomes.
Your Life Expectancy After A Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Once breast cancer has spread beyond the local area and is metastatic, it is treatable but no longer considered curable, says Hendershott. Eventually, treatments will fail. Metastatic breast cancer typically spreads microscopically to numerous areas, of the body, mutating in ways that eventually allow them to escape the medications used to treat them, Hendershott explains.
While the average survival rate of a breast cancer diagnosis is 90% over five years, that statistic tumbles for metastatic breast cancer, dipping to just 29% in the same time period, the most recent data shows.
Many women with metastatic breast cancer will live only a handful of years, says Hendershott. But about one-third will live at least five years after their diagnosis. And there are people who have been living with stage IV breast cancer for more than 15 years, she says.
But survival rates are hardly cut-and-dry: How long a woman lives after a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis depends on a variety of factors, including her age at diagnosis, whether she has existing or underlying medical conditions, the type of breast cancer she has, where it has spread in her body, and the amount of cancer throughout her body, according to Hamouda.
While getting diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer means you will almost certainly eventually die of breast cancer, the timing is unclear, Hendershott says.
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Seeing A Palliative Care Or Anesthesia Pain Specialist
Sometimes a palliative care specialist or an anesthesia pain specialist is part of your treatment team. If not, be sure to ask your oncologist for a referral to a specialist if:
- Your pain is not controlled
- You have side effects from the pain medications
- You would like to discuss more options to manage your pain
Your oncologist can usually follow the specialists recommendations. If the treatment is effective, you wont need to see the specialist again.
Keeping Health Insurance And Copies Of Your Medical Records
Even after treatment is finished, its very important to keep your health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think their cancer might come back, this could happen.
At some point after your treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesnt know about your medical history. Its important to keep copies of your medical records so you can give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.
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The Impact Of Breast Cancer Treatment On Your Long
The late effects associated with breast cancer treatments. Antonio Wolff, M.D., medical oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, encourages a relationship with a primary care doctor who is knowledgeable about these effects on breast cancer survivors and their long-term health care.
These long-term and late side effects may include:
- Pain and numbness
Radiation For Metastatic Breast Cancer
For women with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, radiation can be used to help with symptoms in the affected area. Radiation is particularly useful for cancer that has spread to the bone and is causing pain. Radiation can help relieve pain in approximately 80 percent of women.
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Stage 1 Breast Cancer
What is Stage 1 breast cancer?
Stage 1 breast cancers are still relatively small, and theyve either not yet spread to the lymph nodes or theres only been a tiny bit of spread in the sentinel lymph node which is where the cancer is most likely to spread first. There are two types of Stage 1 breast cancer:
- Stage 1A breast cancer Stage 1A breast cancer means the tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters, and the cancer has not spread outside the breast or to lymph nodes.
- Stage 1B breast cancer Stage 1B breast cancer means there are small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes. There may or may not be a tumor smaller than 2 centimeters in the breast.
What are the options for Stage 1 breast cancer treatment?
- Surgery Like with Stage 0, a lumpectomy and mastectomy are both options at this stage:
- Lumpectomy This kind of breast conservation surgery is a viable option when the cancerous cells are confined to one area of the breast.
- Mastectomy A mastectomy may be recommended if cancer is found throughout the breast.
What is the Stage 1 breast cancer treatment timeline?
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
Another way to decide whether cancer is present in the lymph nodes is to perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy. During surgery to remove your cancer, a radioactive tracer and/or a blue dye is injected into the region of the tumor. The surgeon then watches to see which lymph node is the first to receive the dye or tracer as it is carried away from the tumor site by the lymphatic vessels. The surgeon then removes this “sentinel” node. If it is free of cancer, your doctor may not need to remove any other lymph nodes.
This procedure is still quite new, but many doctors believe that it will prove to be as effective as axillary dissection in at least some patients. This could be important because removal of the lymph nodes produces a condition called lymphedema in 10 percent to 20 percent of women with breast cancer. It is hoped that decreasing the amount of surgery performed in the armpit will decrease lymphedema and other side effects.
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What Happens During Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer
Most people receive chemotherapy for breast cancer through one of their veins . You may receive chemotherapy as one short injection or as an infusion. Infusions last longer and usually take place in a hospital or specialized infusion center.
When you get to the infusion center, your nurse administers your chemotherapy drugs and any additional medications you need. For example, you may also receive an anti-nausea medication before the chemotherapy drugs.
During the infusion: