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NCCN QUICK GUIDE

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Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)

Version 1.2017

PAT-N-0992-0917

How is locally advanced breast cancer treated?

Many women first receive chemotherapy to shrink tumors before surgery. A cancer

drug, called a HER2 antibody, may be added if the cancer is HER2 positive.

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Surgery to remove the cancer is often a key part of treatment. Most women receive a

total mastectomy, which removes the whole breast. For some women, a lumpectomy

to spare breast tissue is an option. At least a few lymph nodes will be removed for

cancer testing.

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To prevent the cancer from returning, most women receive radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to damage cancer cells. The breast or

chest wall may be treated. Nearby lymph node may be treated as well.

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Endocrine therapy is a standard treatment for hormone receptor–positive breast

cancer. It is often taken for 5 to 10 years. It lowers the chance of the cancer returning.

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What does follow-up care involve?

It includes tests to check your overall health and for cancer. Also, care for ongoing or new

health problems caused by cancer treatment will be given. Support for a healthy lifestyle

is given since treatment results may be improved.

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What if the cancer returns?

Cancer that returns in the breast or nearby sites may be treated with surgery, radiation

therapy, or both. Treatment with cancer drugs may be added.

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What are some tips for making good treatment decisions?

Ask your doctors many questions. Also, you could get a second opinion, use decision

aids, attend support groups, and compare pros and cons.

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