The aim of the treatment differ between presence of localized disease only (in the breast and regional lymph nodes) and if verified metastatic disease.
In localized breast cancer, the goal is always curative. With metastases, there is currently no curative treatment. The goal is then to minimize symptoms and maintain the disease under control. There are a variety of treatment options which in turn can achieve good results.
Treatment of localized breast cancer is today often multimodal. Multiple treatment modalities are combined to give the best possible results and to give the patient the possibility of breast conservation. The tumor size and characteristics, possible lymph node spreading, and the age of the patient will dictate which treatment is appropriate.
The breast cancer disease is often classified into invasive breast cancer and premalignant changes. The treatment and follow-up of premalignant changes are partially in line with treatment for invasive breast cancer but differ by less use of radiation therapy and seldom use of systemic treatment.
The treatment of localized breast cancer also may vary, depending on whether it is a primary operable or primary inoperable condition. If the tumor is primary operable, the patient will be treated according to the standardized national recommendations for surgery, radiation treatment, and systemic treatment. With locally advanced stages (primary inoperable), the treatment is more individualized.