Breast Cancer Expert Forum
Why Surgery if cancer is gone.......
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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Why Surgery if cancer is gone.......

After talking with my surgeon, She told me that after going through chemo there are times where she has seen that the tumor has not only shrunk but it has disappeared in some cases and that even after a pet scan it shows no cancer......But she also told me that surgery would still need to be done.  My question would be....WHY??????  Why would you need to have surgery if you no longer have cancer.....Is it so the cancer wont come back???/  But then WHY....do they give you a preventive drug that prevents breast cancer from coming back but the side affect of that drug is ovarian and uterus cancer........All of this just baffles me.......
Yes I am battling breast cancer and I have had two chemo treatments and I have seen such a huge change in the size of my tumor...I am scheduled to have another four months of chemo.  I have been in little to no pain in my breast.... However I have had just about every other side effect that a person can get from the chemo treatments.
So I sit here thinking......If I am clear from all cancer.....Do I take a chance on no surgery or do a take a chance and have surgery then be put on this drug that can cause cancer....MMMMM
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Dear rbjb1,  In some cases with large breast tumors, chemotherapy treatments are given before surgery to shrink the tumor as well as to treat any possible spread of cancer sooner.  This is called neoadjuvant treatment.  The surgery after chemotherapy is done to treat any disease at the primary site that may be still there.  Although the scans may be clear they also want to be sure that there is no microscopic disease remaining at the site, and if a lumpectomy is done - radiation therapy as treatment to the remainder of the breast is likely to be recommended as well.  
In situations where the cancer is hormone receptor positive - medications to block estrogen (which can cause the cancer to grow) are given for a time.   The risks and benefits of any of these treatments need to be discussed in context of the individual situation.
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