Cancer, no matter what type, is extremely dreadful as it not only harms a person physically but also causes deep mental distress. Coping with cancer can be very tough, something which is beyond imagination for the non-sufferers.
However, the little ray of hope in combating cancer lies in the new breast cancer treatment modalities available today. The advanced treatment options have made it easier to fight cancer successfully. Like for other cancer types, breast cancer treatments have also evolved over the time. Today there are a number of choices to treat breast cancer, and while the options are many, it is always good to learn about the choices you have.
Irrespective of what treatment modality you choose, a breast cancer treatment is designed with two major goals:
- Remove as much cancer cells from the body as possible
- Prevent the disease from recurring
How to choose the right treatment type?
Your oncologist is the best person to recommend the most effective breast cancer treatment module, and before suggesting you a treatment module, he or she will take into count the following points:
- Breast cancer type
- Tumor size and its spread in the body, which is normally called the “cancer stage”
- Presence of “receptors” in tumor for HER2 protein, progesterone, estrogen or any other particular feature
- Age, health conditions and if you have attained menopause
- Your personal choice will also be taken into consideration
Types of breast cancer treatment
Different breast cancer treatments tend to serve different purposes. Some breast cancer treatment methods work to destroy the cancer cells in the breast and surrounding tissues like the lymph nodes. These treatment types include:
Surgery: It is done to either remove the whole breast or to remove only the tumor and nearby tissues. Surgery can also be used in order to check the adjacent axillary lymph nodes present under your arm. Breast cancer surgery is categorized into two parts based on the nature of surgery process. Removal of the whole breast is known as a mastectomy whereas removal of just the tumor and tissues around is called lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery.
Radiation therapy: This breast cancer treatment is used to kill the cancer cells in the affected area. Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves, which are delivered either externally via a machine or internally, through small implants placed near the tumor.
There are various other breast cancer treatment modules which control or destroy the cancer cells from the entire body, these treatment types include:
Chemotherapy: This early breast cancer treatment makes use of different drugs to destroy the cancer cells. The chemotherapy drugs are highly effective in fighting the cancer cells, but they cause certain side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, nausea, early menopause, and hot flashes. Chemotherapy is used to treat an early-stage surgical breast cancer so as to remove any remaining cancer cells post surgery and to cut down the risk of cancer recurrence. It can even be used to treat an advanced-stage breast cancer with the objective of destroying or damaging the cancer cells as much as possible. In certain cases, chemotherapy treatment is given ahead of a surgery in order to shrink the cancer cells.
Hormone therapy: A hormone therapy is used when the cancer is hormone induced. It uses medicines that prevent hormones, particularly estrogen, from feeding the breast cancer cells. Side effects of a hormone therapy include vaginal dryness and hot flushes.
Targeted therapy: The targeted therapy makes use of medicines to encourage body’s immune system to damage the cancer cells. They particularly target the cancer cells with high levels of a protein type known as HER2.
All these therapies are often combined with surgery or radiation so that every single cancer cell is destroyed, and there stands nearly zero chance for the disease to come back. However, it even depends on how well you follow the aftercare process and the healthy lifestyle changes you make.
The early breast cancer treatment type will completely depend on your medical condition. But you still stand a choice and you can discuss all possibilities with your doctor. Before making a choice, you should clearly understand your cancer type, the risks, and the advantages associated with each new breast cancer treatment type.
The breast Cancer Surgery Unit at Hospital is exclusively dedicated to offering the latest breast cancer treatments. A multi-specialty team works with each patient to develop an individual treatment plan to ensure the most effective, total cancer care.