Breast cancer general principles
The basic principles of breast cancer treatment are:
- Removal of the cancer with clear margins. Clear margins mean to remove normal breast tissue all around the tumor during surgery. Getting a clear margin helps confirm that no cancer tissue has been left behind.
- Checking the lymph nodes. The first place in the body that breast cancer spreads to are the lymph nodes, which are located in the armpit or axilla. The “sentinel” or first draining lymph node is checked for cancer during surgery. This helps determine if the rest of the are healthy or not.
- Rule-out distant or metastatic cancer. Clinicians use imaging studies, including PET, bone and CT scans for staging the breast cancer when the patient is initially diagnosed. Negative results are reassuring and serve as a baseline for future tests. Scans that identify distant cancer are valuable in which they may alter treatment plans.