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NCCN QUICK GUIDE
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
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.27
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
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.44
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.52
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.58
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.62
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.67
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