Circumstances in your favor
“Your doctor is likely to recommend chemotherapy and / or hormone therapy after surgery and radiation,” said Susan Love, MD, head of the Faulkner Breast Disease Center in Boston, and associate professor, Harvard Medical Clinical Surgeon Institute. This is necessary for the reason that breast cancer is a systemic disease, it can spread throughout the body. Cancer cells enter the blood vessels two to three years after the start of growth of the primary tumor. A malignant neoplasm can appear in the mammary gland ten years before it is detected upon examination. Some women are lucky in that their immune system identifies the circulating cancer cells and kills them. The immune system of others is not able 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 only the tumor was removed or a mastectomy was performed, is prescribed a course of chemotherapy most often for women in the premenopausal period or hormone therapy, most of them for women in the postmenopausal period.
Through 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 cancer, Dr. Love tells his 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. ”
“Once the diagnosis is made, consultations with other specialists are usually held for days and weeks, information is collected and decisions are made on treatment methods,” says Mary Jane Massey, MD, Clinical Psychiatrist at the Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center, who 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 the decision I make have?”
This is a time of such chilling fear that women are often afraid to trust the proposed treatment strategy. Kerry McGinn says that at first she was so busy consulting with specialists, finding out if there were any other opinions, doing blood tests, undergoing a scan, chest x-ray, that she did not have time to cry.
“I felt that I could not afford to relax and let the events themselves develop,” she says, until I knew exactly what I should do.