Treatment of Breast Cancer

Treatment for breast cancer is varied. Basically it depends on the patient’s physiological profile and the type of cancer. There are however two broad categories of treatment. One is the standard method in which time tested techniques are administered to reduce the symptoms and cure the illness. The other category is clinical trials. 


Clinical trial  for breast cancer treatment


This is a part of research on cancer that will help determine better and more effective methods to address the problem. If the clinical trial proves better than the existing treatment, it will replace the existing treatment. Seek advice from your professional health care giver about volunteering for a clinical trial. Some trials may look for only those patients who have not yet started any kind of treatment yet for breast cancer.


The standard breast cancer treatments are 


Surgery for breast cancer treatment

  1. Mastectomy: Removal of the whole breast that is afflicted with cancer

  2. Partial mastectomy: When a part of the (and not the whole) breast is removed to remove the cancerous tumor

  3. Radical mastectomy: (Also known as Halsted Radical Mastectomy) A surgery by means of which the cancer affected breast, the entire set of lymph nodes under the arm and muscles of the chest wall that lie below the breast are removed

  4. Modified radical mastectomy: A surgery by means of which the cancerous breast, several lymph nodes in the under arm region, a section of the muscles in the chest wall region and the lining over the chest muscle region are removed

  5. Lumpectomy: Removal only of the tumor lump in the breast along with some of the neighboring tissue; both lumpectomy and partial mastectomy are termed as breast conserving surgeries as the whole breast is not removed to get rid of the cancer


 Radiation therapy for breast cancer treatment


When high potency X-rays are directed on the cancerous tumors to destroy them, the treatment is termed as radiation therapy.


External radiation therapy is when the machine emitting the X-rays is placed outside the body of the patient. Internal radiation therapy is a means by which pellets, needles, catheters or wires that hold radioactive substances are placed right in the cancerous region. The type of radiation given depends on the patient’s cancer type and his/her physiological profile.


Chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment


Chemotherapy (administration of drugs to combat cancer, orally/intravenously) when given prior to surgery may reduce the size of the tumor and hence reduce the extent of tissue to be removed during surgery. Pre-surgery chemotherapy is termed as neo-adjuvant therapy.


Sometimes chemotherapy involves directing the medication right into the cerebrospinal fluid, the organ where cancer is present or into body cavities. This ensures that the medicine will destroy the cancer cells that are concentrated in the specific region.


Chemotherapy treatment after surgery is termed as adjuvant therapy. This is done to remove all traces of cancer that may have persisted after the surgery.  


Hormone therapy for breast cancer treatment


Hormone therapy is a means of treatment that can trigger the growth or retardation of certain hormonal activities in order to kill the cancer cells or severely retard their growth. 


Breast Reconstruction for breast cancer treatment


After mastectomy, most patients go for a breast reconstruction therapy. This may be undertaken soon after the mastectomy or later on as per the convenience and medical requirement of the patient. For those people who would like to know more about breast implants surfing the FDA website would be advisable.

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