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Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options by Stage

Stage I, Stage II, Stage IIIA, and Operable Stage IIIC Breast Cancer

Treatment of stage I, stage II, stage IIIA, and operable stage IIIC breast cancer may include the following:

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  • Breast-conserving surgery to remove only the cancer and some surrounding breast tissue, followed by lymph node dissection and radiation therapy.
  • Modified radical mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy followed by surgery.

Adjuvant therapy (treatment given after surgery to lower the risk that cancer will come back) may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy to the lymph nodes near the breast and to the chest wall after a modified radical mastectomy.
  • Chemotherapy with or without hormone therapy.
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy with trastuzumab combined with chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of new targeted therapies.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I breast cancer, stage II breast cancer, stage IIIA breast cancer and stage IIIC breast cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IIIB, Inoperable Stage IIIC, Stage IV, and Metastatic Breast Cancer

Stage IIIB and inoperable stage IIIC breast cancer

Treatment of stage IIIB and inoperable stage IIIC breast cancer may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy followed by surgery (breast-conserving surgery or total mastectomy), with lymph node dissection followed by radiation therapy. Additional therapy (chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or both) may be given.
  • Clinical trials testing new anticancer drugs, new drug combinations, and new ways of giving treatment.

Stage IV and metastatic breast cancer

Treatment of stage IV or metastatic breast cancer may include the following:

  • Hormone therapy and/or chemotherapy with or without trastuzumab.
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy with trastuzumab and pertuzumab combined with chemotherapy.
  • Antibody-drug conjugate therapy with ado-trastuzumab emtansine.
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy with lapatinib combined with capecitabine.
  • Radiation therapy and/or surgery for relief of pain and other symptoms.
  • Bisphosphonate drugs to reduce bone disease and pain when cancer has spread to the bone.
  • Clinical trials testing new chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.
  • Clinical trials of new combinations of treatments, including targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Clinical trials testing other treatments, including high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IIIB breast cancer, stage IIIC breast cancer and stage IV breast cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: September 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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