Stage 1 breast cancer typically has an excellent prognosis. It refers to the earliest stage of breast cancer, and like other stages of breast cancer when stage 1 breast cancer is diagnosed and treated early on, the prognosis may be more likely to be a positive one. Here are some things you can expect from your stage 1 breast cancer treatment to help you become a more informed patient.
Local Treatment Options
Your breast cancer treatment plan will depend on the tumor size, whether or not there was lymph node involvement, whether your cancer is estrogen-positive or estrogen-negative, and if your cancer is associated with a genetic mutation. Local treatment options for stage 1 breast cancer include lumpectomy, which refers to a surgical procedure that removes the tumor and a portion of the surrounding breast tissue.
Mastectomy is another local treatment option, however, unlike a lumpectomy, mastectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire breast. A breast implant can be inserted into the space immediately following your mastectomy, however, you can delay this option or forego it altogether. If you have a lumpectomy, your oncologist may recommend local radiation to further reduce the chance of a recurrence. While radiation therapy can cause local side effects such as skin irritation, it typically does not cause systemic symptoms such as hair loss and digestive problems.
Systemic Treatment Options
Your oncologist may also recommend certain systemic treatment options. These include chemotherapy to destroy undetected malignant cells. Like radiation, chemotherapy can also reduce the risk of recurrence. While many people tolerate chemotherapy very well, others can experience nausea and vomiting. If you experience these side effects, your oncologist can prescribe effective anti-nausea medications to help you feel better.
Chemotherapy can also cause hair loss, however, this is a temporary side effect and after your treatment has been completed, your hair will grow back. Interventions such as using an ice cap while receiving your treatments can help prevent the chemotherapy from reaching your hair follicles, and because of this, may help minimize or even prevent hair loss. Hormonal therapy using aromatase inhibitors is another common stage 1 breast cancer treatment option. Hormone therapy helps block certain hormones that can fuel certain types of breast cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, work with your oncologist to develop a customized treatment plan. While early-stage breast cancer is very treatable and often curable, you may feel anxious about your treatment and prognosis. Joining a breast cancer support group can provide you with support, advice, and friendships to help you cope better with your diagnosis, and look forward to the future with more hope and optimism.
For more information, contact a local company like Alaska Oncology and Hematology LLC.