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Treating Breast Cancer

The treatment of breast cancer is a very complex issue. There are a number of treatment options and combinations of treatments that can be used. The appropriate treatment program will be different for every woman, based on a number of factors including the type and stage of the cancer, the age and overall condition of the woman, and past medical history. Treatment decisions should be made by a team of physicians and healthcare professionals who are familiar with the patient and with her overall medical status. In addition, the patient and her family should be involved in treatment decisions.

Treatment programs for breast cancer patients must be developed on an individual basis, with input from the physician, other health care professionals, and the patients and their families. Treatment guidelines are available to assist physicians in planning the most appropriate treatment programs for their patients and to provide patients and their families with information about different treatment options. These guidelines are intended to provide general information for healthcare professionals to use to plan customized treatment programs tailored to individual patient needs. Individual treatment programs may differ from these guidelines, as the physician will base the treatment program on specific information about the patient.

The American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) have collaborated since 1995 to develop cancer treatment guidelines for healthcare professionals.

The National Cancer Institute also provides treatment guidelines through its telephone information center at 1-800-4-CANCER.