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Have stage 3 breast cancer. Will it be cured by chemotherapy or surgery?

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Posted on Fri, 21 Dec 2012
Question: My aunt has stage 3 breast cancer (I don't remember if it is Type A or B). She's had chemo once a week since September I believe; she was also scheduled to have radiation treatment for I think 5 weeks, THEN have a mastectomy (she's choosing to do both in case). However, her doctor last week suddenly cancelled her chemo and wants to go straight to surgery. Why is this? I'm reading so many scary articles that chemotherapy doesn't even work! Why does this doctor want to get "straight to the point"? Is the chemo not working??
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Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta (3 hours later)
Hello,
Thanks for the query.
There is no question of chemotherapy not working.
The doctor must have felt that enough chemo has been given and it is the right time to go for surgery.
In fact the doctor must have opted for a breast conservation surgery which is a combination of lumpectomy ( removal of cancer and a portion of surrounding tissue ) and radiation therapy.

Clinical studies have shown that breast-conserving therapy is associated with a lower risk of local cancer recurrence compared to lumpectomy alone and it gives long term survival. 

Some patients who are not initially candidates for breast-conserving therapy may become eligible for breast-conserving therapy after undergoing chemotherapy. Systemic treatment before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a recommended treatment for some women with stage 3 breast cancer
The doctor is absolutely right and there is nothing to worry. Please have faith in your doctor and his decision.
I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any further query.
Best of luck.
Thanks

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1978

Answered : 6704 Questions

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Have stage 3 breast cancer. Will it be cured by chemotherapy or surgery?

Hello,
Thanks for the query.
There is no question of chemotherapy not working.
The doctor must have felt that enough chemo has been given and it is the right time to go for surgery.
In fact the doctor must have opted for a breast conservation surgery which is a combination of lumpectomy ( removal of cancer and a portion of surrounding tissue ) and radiation therapy.

Clinical studies have shown that breast-conserving therapy is associated with a lower risk of local cancer recurrence compared to lumpectomy alone and it gives long term survival. 

Some patients who are not initially candidates for breast-conserving therapy may become eligible for breast-conserving therapy after undergoing chemotherapy. Systemic treatment before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a recommended treatment for some women with stage 3 breast cancer. 
The doctor is absolutely right and there is nothing to worry. Please have faith in your doctor and his decision.
I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any further query.
Best of luck.
Thanks