How long does breast cancer treatment typically last?

Expert Answers

DrAttai (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 03 / 09 / 2012

The duration of treatment is very variable, depending on the exact type of cancer, the biologic behavior of the cancer (how aggressive it is), and the stage of diagnosis. Some cases of breast cancer, especially low-grade DCIS, may be treated by surgery alone; some cases of breast cancer are treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and anti-estrogen therapy. Radiation therapy, if needed is now able to be administered in several ways, including intraoperative therapy, accelerated partial-breast irradiation, accelerated whole-breast irradiation, and standard whole breast therapy – with the newer forms of more concentrated therapy, the duration of treatment is often significantly reduced. There are multiple chemotherapy and targeted therapy regimens, which may range in duration from several months to years. In some cases of metastatic disease, continued maintenance chemotherapy is required.
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