First, please note that the information provided in this post regarding breast cancer treatment is general information. It is not intended as medical advice. Any decisions, made by the reader, on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation from a qualified physician.
Treatment of breast cancer requires a patient to be managed by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. A team may consist of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers, and counselors. A patients treatment plan is determined by the pathology and behavior of the breast cancer.
The options available for breast cancer treatment depend on (the type of cancer, the stage, the grade, genetic markers and the overall health of the patient). Treatment can involve surgical removal of breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy:
- Surgery: Surgery is a good option for small and early-stage breast cancers. Surgical options include lumpectomy, which is the removal of cancer along with small cancer-free healthy tissue around it or mastectomy in which the entire breast is removed. Lymph node biopsy or dissection is also done along with surgery to determine the spread of cancer and further action plan.
- Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy uses high energy x-ray or other particles to kill the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful medicines which help to destroy the cancer cells. It is given in cycles for a few weeks and usually involves a combination of two or more drugs. In some cases, it is given before the surgery to shrink the cancer size.
- Hormonal therapy or endocrine therapy: It is helpful in breast cancer cases which are positive for estrogen or progesterone receptors. Hormonal therapy is used for both early stage and metastatic breast cancer.
- Targeted therapy: It works against the cancer proteins, genes or the tissue environment that promotes the cancer growth. Also, called as biological therapy, it changes the process in the cell cycle. Therapy is active against particular receptors for proteins present in the cancer cells. They help to control or slow the cancer growth.
Treatment Success Rates
The success of breast cancer treatment largely depends on the stage of the breast cancer. The sooner the breast cancer is detected, the greater the probability of success with treatment.
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