Types Of Treatment For Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, so we have developed many treatments for it. Whether you’ve received a diagnosis, you know somebody, or you’re just curious, here we have gathered the most common and successful treatments that remedy breast cancer.
You can find a breakdown of these treatments below. Treatment will change depending on biological factors, the type of breast cancer, and how severe it is. In fact, those with breast cancer are often treated with a variety of the following treatments.
Any treatments should be overseen by a licensed medical professional. To find out more about breast cancer or find qualified physicians near you, maybe Power can help you out.
Surgeries As treatment for breast cancer
We all know what surgeries are, where doctors and surgeons collaborate to diagnose the problem area and then try to remove it.
So naturally, there are multiple types of surgery depending on the cancer diagnosis.
- First, there’s surgery that just removes the cancerous tissue while trying to conserve the rest of the breast. This is commonly followed by radiotherapy.
- Then there are mastectomies, where the whole breast is removed. This can be done in response to serious breast cancer cases or voluntarily on behalf of the patient if there is a high risk of cancer returning and/or spreading. Radical mastectomies remove the chest muscles beneath the breasts too, though this is rare.
- Afterward, patients may wear a breast-shaped prosthesis or they can elect for breast reconstruction surgery. It’s not a direct treatment but it is common in patients to want their breasts back. Others choose to ‘go flat’ to avoid more surgery, get back to their normal lives, and help bring awareness to breast cancer.
- With breast cancer, the nearby lymph nodes may have been infected. A lymph node biopsy is usually required to diagnose cancer here.
Chemotherapy is simply the use of chemicals to pause, shrink, and kill cancer that is developing in somebody’s body.
Like with any other drug, these drugs can be administered as pills or intravenously at scheduled sessions. The drugs aim to create an inhospitable environment for the cancer cells in the body, though they have side effects that cause sensitivity, nausea, tiredness, and hair loss.
When caught early, drug groups called anthracyclines (doxorubicin, epirubicin) and taxanes (docetaxel, paclitaxel) are commonly used. They may be combined with cyclophosphamide or fluorouracil. Different combinations of these drugs are used for treatment.
Radiotherapy is intended to shoot high-energy ionizing radiation into the affected area to eliminate cancer cells. For breast cancer, this may be used in combination with more proactive treatment to avoid cancer cells coming back. If the lymph nodes are cancerous, it’s common to get radiotherapy to the armpit, too.
Since the doctors are working with radioactive x-rays, large machinery is used. While it may seem intimidating, precautions are taken to protect you. The patient should also stay still to ensure treatment accuracy. The process doesn’t hurt, either. Like with chemotherapy, nausea, hair loss, and appetite changes are common side effects.
Some types of cancer, including breast cancers, can be treated with hormone therapy. This is because the breast cancer cells include receptors that grow through contact with hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapy, sometimes called endocrine therapy, is used to limit the presence of those hormones to starve the cells.
It’s a long-term treatment that can take five years in total. It is sometimes used before and in collaboration with surgery, too. Drugs like tamoxifen and toremifene are used to change the hormonal profile of the patient, though they cause hot flashes, menstrual cycle changes, and other changes to sex organs.
Targeted Biological Therapy
Targeted biological therapy is another process where drugs are given to stop, limit, and reduce the growth of cancer. Like chemotherapy or hormone therapy, biological therapy introduces drugs into the body. However, unlike the others, those drugs work by weaponizing the body’s immune system against the cancer cells.
Trastuzumab is a common drug used to treat breast cancer, as long as it has been diagnosed to be HER2 positive. Many other drugs – most also ending in -zumab – are used to treat the same cancers. HER2 negative or ER-positive cancers are treated by abemaciclib, palbociclib, ribociclib, everolimus.
Those are the ways that breast cancer is treated once diagnosed, with several of these used in conjunction with one another. Do not seek any of these treatments if they aren’t under the guidance of qualified medical professionals.