Treatments For Breast Cancer

breast cancer self-examination

The first reaction for most women who just find out of being diagnosed with breast cancer is shock. Some of these individuals are very healthy which makes it very hard to believe. To be sure, most patients get a second opinion which just confirms the former diagnosis.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer does mean the end of the world. Recent advances in medical technology have been able to make people live longer. This could mean a woman could continue to live with both breasts intact or losing one.

Most women undergo surgery. This is done to remove the cancer cells from the woman's breast. The type of surgery that the patient will undergo will depend on the stage where the cancer was detected.

If it has been detected in its early stages, the patient can be qualified for breast conservation therapy or BCT. Women who are eligible for BCT do not need any reconstruction once the treatment has been completed.

This begins with a lumpectomy to remove the tumor without removing the breast.   Should a larger part of the breast needs to be removed; a partial or segmental mastectomy needs to be done. In both cases, radiation therapy needs to be conducted to ensure that all the cancer cells have been removed.

If the breast cancer has been detected in an advanced stage, the patient has to undergo a radical mastectomy. This means the woman will lose the breast and the lymph nodes under the arm.

Another treatment used for breast cancer is chemotherapy. A patient who undergoes surgery does not guarantee that it will not happen in the future. This is because cancer cells are quite small and there is a strong possibility that it could have spread to other parts of the body which could recur again.

To reduce the risk, the patient is given anti-cancer drugs which could take weeks or even months. The two which are usually given are AC (doxorubicin and cycolphosphamide) for 3 months or CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil) for 6 months. Both of these medications have advantages and disadvantages and this will depend on the choice of the individual which to use with the guidance of the doctor.

Radiation therapy is another treatment also used to fight off cancer in the breast. This painless procedure can be done in a few minutes but will take weeks to complete. This can be done after surgery to make sure all cancer cells have been eliminated.

Hormonal therapy can be administered to the patient after surgery has been performed. The doctor will need to find out if the tumor shows estrogen or progesterone receptors. If it is estrogen, then Tamoxifen will be recommended to make sure the cancer does not recur.

Biologic therapy may also work for the patient. This only happens when the tumor shows signs of HER-2/neu over expression. This means that there is a strong possibility for the cancer to recur even after surgery has been done. The doctor will recommend Herceptin or Trastuzumab to stop this from happening.

The different treatments available have shown the advances in medical science in treating people diagnosed with breast cancer. Though these are not perfect and each has a side effect on the individual, it is up to the person with the help of the doctor to decide which one to use.




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