Knowing What I Want: Treatment Options


08 Jan
08Jan

As my husband went through stage 1 prostate cancer treatment last year I learned a lot about the consequences of surgery and radiation.  Because my tumor was found at stage 1 I had choices about my treatment including: 

a) Surgery:  Mastectomy or lumpectomy? 

b) Radiation: External Beam Breast Cancer Radiation (targeting the entire breast) or Internal Breast Cancer Radiation (targeted, internally delivered radioactive treatment to the tumor site), includes Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation?

Because my tumor was "extremely small" and my BRCA gene test was negative for having the breast cancer risk mutation, I opted to have a breast preserving lumpectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy.  The tumor and lymph node tissue removed during surgery would be sent to a pathologist to determine if cancer cells were present.  If they were, I would no longer be a candidate for Internal Radiation.  

Only the results of the post surgical pathology report would confirm whether I was eligible for Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation.   

In order to qualify for Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation, I had to meet the following criteria: 

  • 50+ years old  
  • At low risk for recurrence, a tumor smaller than 2.5 cm, and clean surgical margins that are 3 mm or larger 
  • No presence of cancer cells in the lymph node biopsy  

I made a decision to preserve as much breast tissue as possible understanding that I could not control all of the decisions.  More unknowns. 

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