print   Bookmark and Share  |  RSS  |  A  A  A

Local Treatment

Local treatment is aimed at removing cancer from a specific area and includes surgery radiation therapy. They focus on getting rid of the cancer in a limited (local) area, such as the breast, chest wall and lymph nodes under the armpit (axillary nodes).

Surgery - Decisions about the type of surgery is a decision made after careful discussion with a surgical oncologist.

  1. Lumpectomy - removes the tumor and a small wedge of surrounding tissue
  2. Partial or Segmental Mastectomy - removes the tumor and an area of tissue around the tumor.
  3. Total Mastectomy - removes the breast tissue, nipple, areola
  4. Modified Radical Mastectomy - removes the breast, nipple, areola, underarm lymph nodes.
  5. Skin Sparing Mastectomy - a procedure that may be used when performing a simple or total mastectomy. This method removes the breast tissues from a circular incision around the areola. This procedure is often selected when reconstructive surgery is performed.

    If the cancer has spread to surrounding lymph nodes this is another consideration to be discussed with a surgical oncologist and may require the following -

  6. Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - (as discussed in staging) removal of first nodes that may receive drainage from a cancerous tumor, after these nodes are identified by injection of dye either around the tumor site or areola. If these nodes are identified as negative or not having any tumor cells inside, then there may be no need for further node dissection, thus reducing potential for lymphedema (swelling of the arm) .
  7. Axillary Node Biopsy - The majority of the lymphatic fluid leaving the breast is drained through the nodes located in the area of the armpit, referred to as axillary nodes. Should any sentinel lymph nodes prove to contain cancer cells, an axillary node dissection may be completed at the time of your final breast surgery. This will give an accurate picture of the number of nodes involved with cancer, thus provide guidance for a proper treatment plan.

Radiation Therapy - Radiation therapy causes biologic effects in cells that cause a cancer cell's death. Radiation therapy is managed by a radiation oncologist. It is given after breast conservation surgery (lumpectomy or segmental mastectomy).  Typically 25 to 30 treatments are given over a period of 5 1/2 weeks to 6 1/2 weeks in daily doses. The dose is calculated to prevent a tumor cell from repairing itself while allowing normal cells to recover before the next dose.