My specialty is treating patients with breast cancer—for patients with early stage breast cancer, we treat cancer with the hope of a cure. For patients whose breast cancer has spread throughout the body, the approach is to manage the disease like a chronic illness. If we cannot hope to kill every cancer cell, we focus our efforts on controlling the cancer. I tell my patients that this can be compared to controlling diabetes, where treatment is designed to keep the disease from taking a person's life and to keep him/her symptom free with a high quality of life. Similarly, while metastatic breast cancer may not be totally eliminated, the goal of treatment is to turn it into a chronic illness, to control the cancer, to keep it from growing and from harming the individual.
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