Saint Alphonsus Health System

Surgery: Chemotheraphy First

Giving chemotherapy first (neoadjuvant therapy) is becoming a more common option. In the past, chemotherapy was given before surgery in situations where the tumor was too large to permit a mastectomy. The chemotherapy was given first to shrink the tumor so that a mastectomy could be successfully performed. It is now becoming common practice to give chemotherapy first to shrink the tumors so that less tissue is taken at the time of the lumpectomy, which leads to improved cosmetic results. We have had extensive experience with this approach and have now saved hundreds of breasts that in the past would have required a mastectomy.