Stage 1 Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 26 March 2021

Stage I Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Breast cancer in Stage 1 is also known to be in the early stages. The cancer has either not spread beyond the breast or has spread to a lymph node in a very small amount at this time. You may select from a range of treatments. A combination of treatments usually works well for women.


Surgery: The standard treatment for such a stage is surgery. Since the tumour is small, you can undergo a lumpectomy, in which only the tumour and any surrounding tissue are removed. Some women undergo a mastectomy, which requires the removal of the whole breast. In this case, one or more lymph nodes would almost certainly be removed by the surgeon. You can opt to get breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

Radiation therapy: Radiation treatment has the ability to destroy cancer cells that were previously undetected. It's usually offered after a lumpectomy. Women who have a mastectomy for stage I cancer may also need radiation.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy following treatment may decrease the risks of cancer recurrence. Cancer cells are targeted by the medications. Chemotherapy is most likely to be provided to women who have had bigger tumours removed.

Chemotherapy may be administered in a variety of forms. You can take pills or drink liquids, but most medications are inserted straight into the bloodstream. The therapy is typically provided in stages, allowing your body time to heal between treatments.

Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is a safe choice for women who have hormone receptor-positive cancer, which means their cancers need hormones to develop. Medication can help cancers from getting hormones. Tamoxifen (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara) are both available to all women, while anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara) are only available to postmenopausal women.

Women that have not yet achieved menopause may wish to have their ovaries removed in order to avoid producing hormones that promote cancer growth.

Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a more recent therapeutic option. Around 20% of women with breast cancer have an excess of a protein called HER2, which can cause the cancer to spread rapidly. Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is a medication that has been licenced for the treatment of women who have cancer that is HER2-positive. It inhibits the growth of cancer through this protein and improves the efficacy of certain chemotherapy treatments. Pertuzumab (Perjeta) and neratinib are two other medicines that may be used (Nerlynx)

Clinical trials: Another factor to think of is clinical trials. Many women with stage I cancer are qualified, and they can provide you with access to cutting-edge therapies. To read more about them, talk with your doctor.


Referenced on 25.3.2021

  1. American Cancer Society: “Learn about Cancer: Breast Cancer."
  2. National Cancer Institute: “Breast Cancer."
  3. CDC: “Breast Cancer."
  4. “Breast Cancer Stages,” “IDC Type: Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Medullary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast,” “IDC Type: Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast,” “Male Breast Cancer,” “Metastatic Breast Cancer,” “Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer,” “Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast,” “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics”
  5. Cleveland Clinic: “Breast Cancer.”
  6. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners: “Breast Cancer Subtypes.”
  7. CDC: “Breast Cancer: How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?”
  8. American Cancer Society: “What Is Breast Cancer?”
  9. Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology: “Breast Cancer,” “Breast Cancer In-Situ.”
  10. National Cancer Institute: “Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer.”
  11. Mayo Clinic: “Breast cancer.”

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