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Small Tumor / Early Stage
Your doctor will look at the size of a tumor in the staging process. A tumor that is less than 5cm is considered small. Often a small tumor that is suspected to have moved to multiple lymph nodes will be considered Locally Advanced (Stage III), and will be treated as a large tumor (see Locally Advanced tree).
Any recommended surgery will depend on the size of the tumor, its location and the type of cancer. In a successful surgery, there will be at least a 1mm margin of healthy non-cancerous cells around the tumor. If no cancer cells are detected in this margin, the cancer has been removed.
Additional surgery to rebuild the shape of the breast is called reconstructive and is done by an experienced plastic surgeon. Removal of the cancer may have an impact on your reconstruction options and it is important to communicate your desired result at this time when you may have the most options.
IMPORTANT: If you are interested in having children someday, you must speak to your doctors about fertility preservation as soon as possible after diagnosis. Some aspects of breast cancer treatment (for example chemotherapy and hormonal therapy) can affect your ability to have children. It’s very important that your medical team knows that you would like information about fertility preservation options and that this is included in any discussion about your treatment plan.