Thursday, April 9, 2009

Surgery Choices for Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer

As a woman with early-stage breast cancer (DCIS or Stage I, IIA, IIB, or IIIA breast cancer) you may be able to choose which type of breast surgery to have. Often, your choice is between breast-sparing surgery (surgery that takes out the cancer and leaves most of the breast) and a mastectomy (surgery that removes the whole breast). Research shows that women with early-stage breast cancer who have breast-sparing surgery along with radiation therapy live as long as those who have a mastectomy. Most women with breast cancer will lead long, healthy lives after treatment.

Treatment for breast cancer usually begins a few weeks after diagnosis. In these weeks, you should meet with a surgeon, learn the facts about your surgery choices, and think about what is important to you. Then choose which kind of surgery to have.

Most women want to make this choice. After all, the kind of surgery you have will affect how you look and feel. But it is often hard to decide what to do. This booklet has information that can help you make a choice you feel good about.

This booklet is for women who have early-stage breast cancer (DCIS or Stage I, IIA, IIB, or IIIA). If your cancer is Stage IIIB, IIIC, or IV this booklet does not have the information you need. To find information for you, see "Resources to Learn More."

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