The circumstances that are in your favor
“Your doctor probably recommends chemotherapy and / or hormone therapy after surgery and radiation,” says Susan Love, MD, director of the Falkner’s Breast Gland Disease Center in Boston, as well as associate professor, clinician at the Harvard Medical Center. Institute. This is necessary for the reason that breast cancer is a systemic disease, it can spread throughout the body. Cancer cells penetrate into the blood vessels two to three years after the beginning of the growth of the primary tumor. A malignant neoplasm may appear in the mammary gland ten years before it is detected during examination. Some women are lucky in that their immune system identifies circulating cancer cells and kills them. The immune system of others fails to do this.
Doctors do not know whether the immune system of a particular patient will be able to cope with cancer cells. Therefore, everyone, regardless of whether the tumor was only removed or mastectomy, is prescribed a course of chemotherapy, most often for women in the pre-menopausal period or for hormone therapy most of them for post-menopausal women.
With the help of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy, we are trying to reduce the total number of cancer cells so that your immune system can cope with the remaining ones, Dr. Love tells her patients. In fact, your immune system is the main weapon in the fight against cancer. The treatment provided by doctors is just a helping hand. ”
“After the diagnosis has been established, consultations with other specialists are usually held for a number of days and weeks, information is collected and decisions are made about the methods of treatment, says Mary Jane Massie, MD, clinical psychiatrist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which advises patients breast cancer. The time between diagnosis and surgery is a very difficult time. You always think: “Do I make the right decision?” And “What consequences will my decision have?”
This is a time of such chilling fear that women are often afraid to confide in the proposed treatment strategy. Kerry McGinn says that at first she was so busy consulting with experts, finding out if there were any other opinions, doing blood tests, undergoing a scan, an x-ray of the chest that she didn’t have time to cry.
“I felt that I couldn’t allow myself to relax and let events develop themselves, she says, until I know exactly what I should do.”