How is Breast Cancer treated?

Lumpectomy or Breast Conservation: Removal of the breast cancer "lump" with a               surrounding margin of normal tissue.

Simple or Total Mastectomy:  The entire breast and nipple is removed.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy:  The sentinel node is the first lymph node a breast tumor drains to.  This node is removed to determine if cancer has spread beyond the breast.  If the sentinel node has no tumor cells, an axillary dissection is NOT performed.

Axillary Dissection:  This is the removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Chemotherapy:  Also referred to as "systemic therapy" and involves administering drugs into the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast.

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy:  Chemotherapy given before surgery to shrink a large tumor.

Radiation Therapy:  Also referred to as "local therapy".  Beams of radiation target the breast and possibly the armpit to destroy any cancer cells that may remain in the breast.  This is to prevent local recurrence of the breast cancer.

Mammosite Radiation Device:  A newer method to receive radiation which involves placing a "balloon" into the lumpectomy cavity and administering radiation from the "inside-out".  Traditional radiation involves treating the breast with external radiation beams.

Hormone Therapy:  Medications taken by mouth to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence or the development of a new breast cancer.  Also indicated for women at high risk for breast cancer.