Treatment of Early Stages of Breast Cancer
Early stages of breast cancer refer to cancers that may have spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to distant parts of the body. Breast cancer is categorized as stage 0 which describing non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and then stage I, II (A or B), III (A, B, or C), or IV . The stage is based on four characteristics:
* The size of the cancer
* Whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive
* Whether cancer is in the lymph nodes
* Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the breast
Stages I, IIA, IIB, and IIIA are considered as early stages of breast cancer .
Finding and treating breast cancer in its earliest stages is the key to winning the battle against this disease. Treatment of early stages of breast cancer often involves more than one approach. Surgery is usually the first step. Most women in these stages have a choice between 2 surgical treatments:
* Breast-sparing surgery, followed by radiation therapy. This includes lumpectomy and partial mastectomy. With lumpectomy, the tumor and some surrounding normal tissue are removed. With partial mastectomy, a portion of the breast containing the tumor is removed. Breast-sparing surgery keeps the breast intact, looking a lot like it did before surgery.
* Mastectomy. With simple/total mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast that has cancer and possibly some of the lymph nodes under the arm. With modified radical mastectomy, the whole breast, plus many of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and, sometimes, part of the chest wall muscles are removed.
The type of surgery does not affect the risk of cancer in the healthy breast or elsewhere in the body. In deciding which type of surgery to have for early-stage breast cancer, the choice is not between saving your breast and saving your life. Women who have breast-sparing surgery live just as long as those who have mastectomy. A woman’s life expectancy is the same no matter which surgical choice she makes. The risk of cancer returning in the same breast is low. Yet, even if breast cancer does recur in the same breast, that does not reduce a woman’s chances for a healthy recovery. However, a recurrence in the same breast could require more surgery, so a woman better decide to have a mastectomy first to treat early stages of breast cancer.