Breast Cancer Treatment Conventional Treatment Methods

Breast Cancer Treatment Conventional Treatment Methods

Your team of​ doctors will make treatment recommendations based on the​ stage of​ your cancer. Your standard treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and​ hormone therapy. if​ you have been diagnosed with DCIS or​ LCIS, your stage is​ the​ lowest and​ the​ road you will travel will be easier. for​ DCIS, your options may include breast-conserving surgery or​ mastectomy with or​ without radiation and​ hormone therapy.

LCIS treatments options are a​ bit different. They include observation to​ determine changes, hormone therapy to​ prevent cancer from developing, or​ bilateral prophylactic (preventive) mastectomies.

Things get more complicated when your cancer spreads beyond the​ ducts or​ lobes/lobules. Once your cancer has been staged, you can visit to​ determine your treatment options. They will typically include: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or hormone therapy. for​ IBC, treatment options are similar to​ the​ other types of​ breast cancer, but they will always include chemotherapy because of​ its aggressiveness.

• Surgery: Breast surgery can be either a​ lumpectomy, where the​ tumor is​ removed, or​ a​ partial or​ modified radical mastectomy. With a​ lumpectomy, it​ is​ typically followed by radiation. This way, you get to​ keep your breast and​ studies have shown no difference in​ survival rates between lumpectomy/radiation and​ mastectomy.

Note: Not too long ago, they used to​ perform radical mastectomies where the​ breast, all the​ lymph nodes, and​ the​ underlying muscle were cut away. Thankfully, medicine has discovered that's not necessary. Now, a​ partial or​ modified radical mastectomy is​ performed, where either part of​ the​ breast tissue, or​ the​ entire breast, and​ possibly a​ portion of​ the​ lymph nodes, are removed. On the​ whole, a​ mastectomy isn't too bad a​ surgery, although everyone is​ different. I found both of​ mine to​ be quite easy, but you will wake up with drain tubes, which you’ll typically have for​ at​ least a​ week.

• Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is​ defined by Wikipedia as​ “the use of​ chemical substances to​ treat disease. in​ its modern-day use, it​ refers primarily to​ cytotoxic drugs used to​ treat cancer.” This can be a​ frightening prospect for​ anyone. We've all heard horror stories about how very debilitating chemotherapy can be. However, much progress has been made in​ the​ management of​ chemo's side effects, to​ the​ point that, once you have the​ right management tools, you can continue to​ enjoy the​ activities you typically do. Chemo is​ a​ means of​ treating your cancer systemically and​ is​ typically recommended for​ those whose tumor is​ larger than a​ certain size and/or the​ cancer has spread to​ your lymph nodes. the​ thinking is​ that if​ your cancer has had the​ opportunity to​ access the​ rest of​ your body, your treatment should be systemic as​ well.

• Radiation: Radiation therapy is​ typically a​ localized treatment option, where rapidly dividing cells are damaged. Cancer cells are very rapid dividers, so radiation is​ an​ effective option. Typically, radiation therapy is​ given for​ about six weeks, five days a​ week. It's very much like lying still for​ an​ x-ray, only instead of​ lasting a​ second or​ two, it​ lasts a​ couple of​ minutes. it​ can cause fatigue, toward the​ end and​ slightly after, and​ can cause a​ sunburn effect on your skin.

• Hormone Therapy: Many breast cancers are hormone-dependent. in​ these cancers, there are receptors on the​ tumor that can be filled with estrogen. the​ thinking is​ that when estrogen fills these receptors, it​ causes the​ tumor to​ grow. This is​ called estrogen-receptor positive (ER). These cancers respond well to​ hormone therapy and​ the​ hormone therapy drug that will be recommended for​ you will depend on your menopausal status. These drugs are in​ pill form and​ you take them once a​ day. the​ most popular of​ these drugs, for​ pre-menopausal women, is​ Tamoxifen and, for​ post-menopausal women Femara or​ Arimidex. There is​ new evidence that suggests that taking Femara, after taking Tamoxifen for​ five years, increases survival rates.

• Immunotherapy: There is​ a​ fourth modality of​ treatment on the​ horizon and​ it's called Immunotherapy. This involves getting your immune system to​ fight your cancer and​ there is, and​ will be, a​ lot of​ research being done in​ this area.

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