Treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or biological therapy, that is given in addition to surgery.
axillary lymph node dissection
Procedure in which a surgeon removes all or most of the lymph nodes in the underarm area. Axillary lymph node dissection removes more lymph nodes than sentinel node biopsy.
Lymph nodes found under the arm that drain lymph fluid from the breast.
Treatment that targets cancer cells that make too much of a protein called HER2/neu. Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is the biological therapy available to women with early-stage breast cancer that is HER2/neu-positive. Other biological therapies are being tested in clinical trials.
Chemotherapy involves taking drugs that target cancer cells throughout the body. Some are taken by mouth and others are injected by needle directly into the bloodstream over the course of a few hours.
Tubes in the body that carry body fluids. In the breast, ducts carry milk to the nipple.
Treatment that blocks or removes hormones. To slow or stop the growth of breast cancer, medications may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the source of hormones. Hormone therapy treats cancer in the whole body. Hormone therapy is only effective for women with hormone receptor-positive tumors. Also called endocrine therapy.
Round sac-like structures in the breast where milk is produced. Also called lobes.
Therapy, such as surgery and radiation, that treats cancer in the breast and breast area only, including the lymph nodes under the arm. Local therapies do not treat cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body.
A buildup of excess fluid that causes swelling in the arm after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm are removed or treated with radiation.
A collection of immune system cells that help defend the body from the spread of infections and cancer. Lymph nodes that filter lymph fluid from the breast are located behind the chest wall, near the collarbone, and in the armpit, or axillary area. If cancer cells break off from a primary tumor, often the first place they are trapped is in the axillary lymph nodes. Sometimes the immune system traps cancer cells in the lymph nodes to keep the cancer from spreading.
The edge or border of the tissue removed in cancer surgery. The margin is described as negative or clear if there are no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has been removed. The margin is described as positive or involved if there are cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that not all of the cancer has been removed.
The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. Tumors formed from cells that have spread are called secondary tumors and contain cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural is metastases.
The original tumor in the breast.
A breast prosthesis is a breast-shaped form worn under clothing after a mastectomy to create the appearance of a normal breast.
A local therapy that uses high-energy x-rays to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the breast or breast area after surgery.
sentinel node biopsy
Procedure in which a dye and/or radioactive marker is injected near a breast tumor and flows into the sentinel lymph node(s), the first lymph node(s) that cancer is likely to spread to from the primary tumor. A surgeon then looks for the sentinel lymph node(s) and removes it (or them) to check for the presence of cancer cells. Sentinel node biopsy removes fewer lymph nodes than axillary lymph node dissection.
Treatment with drugs that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy are systemic treatments for breast cancer.