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NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer - Early Stage
(StageS I and II)
, Version 1.2016
Page NumberNCCN.org - For Clinicians
|NCCN.org/patients - For Patients
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What is the main treatment for stages I and II?
It is surgery that removes the cancer in the breast and in any lymph nodes.28
Breast tumors will be removed by a lumpectomy, which spares breast tissue, or by total
mastectomy, which removes the whole breast.30
Some lymph nodes will be removed for testing and maybe more if cancer is found.34
Your breast can be re-shaped or rebuilt after the cancer has been removed.36
What treatments help stop the cancer from coming back?
Chemotherapy is a group of cancer drugs that stop new cells from being made. The larger
the tumor, the more likely doctors will advise taking chemotherapy. HER2 inhibitors are a
type of cancer drug that blocks certain growth signals within cells. It should be given with
chemotherapy for HER2-positive breast cancer.40
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells. The sites that need
radiation, if any, are based on how many lymph nodes near your armpit have cancer.56
Endocrine therapy stops cancer growth caused by hormones. It is only used for hormone
receptor–positive breast cancer. The larger the tumor, the more likely doctors will advise
taking endocrine therapy.66
What does follow-up care involve?
It includes tests of your overall health and tests to find any new breast tumors early. Ongoing
or new health problems caused by cancer treatment will checked by your doctor. There may
be ways to make you feel better. Support for a healthy lifestyle is given since treatment results
may be improved.76
What if the cancer returns?
Cancer that returns in or near to where a breast is or was may be treated with surgery,
radiation therapy, or both. Treatment with cancer drugs may be added.82
How do I decide between options
Ask your doctors many questions. Also, you could get a second opinion, use decision aids,
attend support groups, and compare pros and cons.90