There is a variety of treatments available for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Since the circumstance under which one gets breast cancer is different for each person, knowing all the treatment options will help one choose the most suitable treatment plan.
Being one of the most common treatments, there are two types of breast cancer surgery, mastectomy, and lumpectomy.
In mastectomy, the whole breast is removed by surgeons. There are various types of mastectomy, including total mastectomy, preventive mastectomy, partial mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and modified radical mastectomy. To decide the suitable type of mastectomy for breast cancer patients, doctors have to depend on some factors such as age, health condition, menopause status, tumor size, tumor stages, etc.
In lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, the surgeons only remove the part of the cancerous cells and some of the breast tissues close to them. Patients who take this type of surgery usually have a less than 5 centimeters single tumor. They also have enough breast tissue so that the surgery won’t cause a misshapen breast and are able to follow up the radiation therapy after the surgery.
Being the second common treatment, radiation therapy uses high-energy rays such as x-rays to kill off the cancerous cells. The purpose of this method is to treat cancer without killing other healthy tissues. This treatment can bring two kinds of side effects: early and late. The severity and the duration are different for each patient and there is no way to predict the effects and its level. Some common early side effects are nausea and fatigue but these may go away in time. Meanwhile, the late effects such as lung and heart disease take years to happen and often turn to permanent problems to the health of breast cancer patients.
Chemotherapy or generally known as chemo uses strong cancer-killing drugs to treat cancer cells throughout the body, not just only the breasts. Based on the type of breast cancer; the size of the tumor; the patient’s health condition; any treatment the patient have had taken, doctors will decide to use the treatment alone or together with other methods. Chemotherapy aims to kill fast-growing cells, which can affect the healthy cells and cause side-effects. Some of the side effects related to the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow.
The hormone can contribute to the growing of the cancer cell; for example, estrogen can attach to the cancer cell and help it develop. Hormone therapy can deal with this situation. Hormone drugs can stop estrogen from attaching to the cancer cell. Women before and after menopause use different drugs from women with post menopause. Like chemotherapy, hormone therapy is also a systemic approach which means it can reach to almost anywhere in the body, treating cancer cell not only in the breast area. Some of the side effects of this therapy include hot flashes and vagina dryness.
Usually, breast cancer patients get a combination of treatment. For instance, one may get surgery and a combination of therapies afterward for a better outcome. The types of treatment you will get depends on your current condition such as the size and location of the lump, the type of breast cancer, whether you are pregnant or not, your age, and your personal wishes.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: March 22, 2017 | Last Modified: March 22, 2017
How is breast cancer treated? http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-treating-general-info. Accessed October 22, 2016.
Breast Cancer Treatment. http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/guide/breast-cancer-treatment. Accessed September 27, 2016