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How Long Does it Take to Treat Breast Cancer?

Pink breast cancer ribbon on alarm clock

There are many factors to consider when determining how long breast cancer takes to treat. Even your doctor will only be able to give estimates based on how far your cancer has spread through the breast tissue and where it has metastasized if it has metastasized at all.

Their estimates are based on decades of experience and medical research. However, you should still ask your doctor to give you two estimates, one that imagines everything going to plan and one that factors in common complications. Taking all factors into consideration, the Mayo Clinic suggests that the average treatment length for breast cancer can be divided into two categories: early-stage breast cancer and advanced breast cancer. When trying to figure out how long breast cancer takes to treat, it’s important to start here.

If you’re lucky and catch your condition early on, then your breast cancer treatment will generally last between three and six months. This assumes there is no further growth while you are undergoing treatment. In more advanced cases, you should typically expect a minimum of six months of treatment. How far it goes beyond that depends on how many surgeries you need and how far the cancer has spread.

Survival Happens Every Day

These rough estimates for how long breast cancer takes to treat can be helpful to plan your life around treatment. More importantly, they provide a light at the end of the tunnel for you to focus on. However, for your daily sanity, it may be better to break down your treatment into smaller parts. Take it from one day to the next. Remember, every day you make it, you’re already winning. These factors all affect how long breast cancer takes to treat.

Surgery

In some cases, where the tumor is still relatively small, your doctor may choose to administer a cycle of chemotherapy prior to surgery. This attempts to shrink the tumor. There are a number of reasons your doctor may suggest this practice. The Mayo Clinic states that it is sometimes used to establish how the tumor reacts to treatment in order to establish a clearer prognosis. In other cases, the pre-surgery chemotherapy may increase the odds of the tumor’s complete removal. All with minimal damage to the surrounding tissues and lymphatic system. However, this is limited to the earliest stages of breast cancer.

For mid-level to advanced cases, surgery almost always precedes other forms of treatment. Science-Based Medicine warns patients that this step may not always happen as quickly as they would expect, but that a delay of a few weeks makes no marked difference in their survival statistics. This time is ideal for your surgeon to schedule your surgery and for you to prepare for the coming challenge. BreastCancer.org warns patients to not panic or rush their initial surgery. It is perfectly fine to take that vacation you booked months ago or visit your family over the holidays unless your doctor says otherwise. They will tell you if surgery can’t wait.

Dr. Marlene Miltenburg of Breast Health Institute Houston estimates that recovery from surgery typically takes two weeks. As a result, the average patient takes between six and eight weeks to make the transition from diagnosis to post-surgical recovery if they are able to schedule surgery within the first month.

Chemotherapy

Although some early cases can be treated with radiation therapy, many breast cancer patients have to go through chemotherapy. Medical News Today’s professionally-reviewed article explains that your doctor’s approach to chemotherapy will vary based on your condition. Typically, they will sketch out a plan based on your prognosis. Keep in mind they will monitor progress with every course of chemotherapy you undergo.

A course of chemotherapy can range from one dose to several given over a set period of time. The dosage and frequency will vary based on the individual. Once you’ve completed a course, blood tests will ascertain your body’s response. Chemotherapy is far from pleasant, but each course is a definitive marker you can use to track your progress as you go.

Keeping Cancer in its Place

It’s frustrating when you don’t know exactly how long this nightmare will last, but every step you take has the opportunity to give you hope if you’re willing to treat it as progress. Whether your battle with cancer lasts for three months, six months, or a year, the most important thing is to create a support network you can rely on. Explain to family and friends what you really need from them rather than letting their fear control your life and find a doctor you can really trust.

Tackling the Psychological Effects of Breast Cancer

Daughter hugging cancer survivor mother helping with breast cancer depression

It is never easy to receive a cancer diagnosis. Everyone responds differently. Some treat it as a call to action, immediately scheduling and researching everything they possibly can. Others freeze for a moment, unable to fully process what just occurred. Regardless of the manner in which you respond to your cancer diagnosis, there is one consideration that is almost unique to breast cancer, the fact that your body will never look the same again. Breast cancer depression is very real, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps to counter it.

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What Should You Wear After a Mastectomy?

One half of pink bra for those wondering what to wear after a mastectomy

The prospect of a mastectomy is a daunting one. Whether you’re having breast reconstruction simultaneously or not, you’ve already devoted hours of your life to researching the surgical process and talking over your concerns with your breast cancer surgeon in Houston. You’ve made plans for childcare and have someone to drive you home from the hospital, but there is nothing that fully prepares a person for a mastectomy. How do you carry on life after a mastectomy?

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Taking Control with Breast Cancer Fighting Foods

Pink ribbon on dining table for breast cancer fighting foods

We all worry about what we’re putting in our bodies. However, the rush of daily life so often gets in the way. However, when it comes to cancer, patients must engage with these decisions in a whole new way. It’s no longer a question of a healthy weight or ultimate longevity in the far-off future. When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, your diet becomes one of the few fighting tools you still have control over. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective breast cancer fighting foods.

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Is Lumpectomy Major Surgery?

Doctor consulting stressed woman and answering: is lumpectomy major surgery?

Lumpectomy describes a procedure which removes cancer from the breast. It should not be confused with mastectomy, the partial or complete removal of the breast. Is lumpectomy a major surgery? With a lumpectomy, only the tumor and a small rim of surrounding tissue are removed. This leaves the general shape of the breast and nipple intact.

Radiation is usually given after lumpectomy to get rid of any cancer too small to be seen on mammograms. The lumpectomy plus radiation Survival rate is the same as with a mastectomy.

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Mastectomy vs. Skin Sparing Mastectomy

breast surgeons in Houston

A mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast. It is usually a procedure that women need after a breast cancer diagnosis. There are several different types of mastectomy, including total mastectomy, skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and a double mastectomy. Here we will discuss the most common mastectomies. If you are looking for breast surgeons in Houston, look no further than the Breast Institute Houston. With state of the art breast cancer treatment options, we aim to make this journey as painless as possible for you.

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How to Read Your Mammogram

breast mammogram in houston

Getting routine breast exams is an important task for women that is often swept to the way-side. Many people avoid going to a doctors office altogether because they’re scared of receiving bad news. However, mammograms are extremely important because they help detect breast cancer early on. Reading a mammogram is difficult and always best explained by a radiologist or your doctor. It’s important to know what you are looking for and what it may mean for your health. Here’s a better look at how you can better read your own mammogram in Houston.

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Can a Benign Breast Cyst Turn into Cancer?

can a benign breast cyst turn into cancer

According to breastcancer.org, about 25% of breast masses turn out to be cysts. Cysts are round or oval organic structures filled with fluid. Many people think we can feel all breast cysts through the skin. Although this is true of many cysts, some are so small they are only detected with diagnostic imaging. A cyst that you can feel OR seen through imaging is a “gross cyst.” Still, some cysts are so tiny that they are virtually undetectable until they grow.

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The Link Between Infertility Treatment and Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer and Infertility

According to breastcancer.org, fertility treatments seem to affect breast cancer risk in younger women who succeed in conceiving. These findings are from a July 12, 2012, study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Women whose fertility treatments resulted in conception were found more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not conceive.

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