Today, breast cancer treatment options are no longer limited to one or two options, all thanks to the advanced technology and development of the medical industry. The survival rate of patients with breast cancer has increased, an early detention has become possible, and a new approach to curing breast cancer is practiced by doctors today. With so many options to choose from, it becomes necessary that you gather enough information about all the treatment options before you pick what would work best for you. Doctors recommend various treatment options after carefully studying your cancer type, size of the tumor, to what extent it has spread, other medical conditions you are suffering from, and your overall health.
In this article, you will learn about some of the top treatment methods that are recommended by the doctors to treat the most common type of cancer in women in the country.
Breast cancer surgery
Most women opt for a breast cancer surgery as their primary treatment to get rid of breast cancer. Breast surgery is done using different surgical procedures. Some of the conventional surgical methods used are as follows:
- Lumpectomy- It is effective for getting rid of the small tumor. In a lumpectomy, the surgeon operates and removes the cancer tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. If the cancer tumor in your case is large, then your doctor might tell you to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the size of the tumor first, and then get a lumpectomy done.
- Mastectomy- If cancer has spread all over your breast, then the doctor might recommend you get your entire breast removed. The surgical process of removing of the entire breast tissue which includes the lobules, fatty tissue, and the nipple is termed as the mastectomy.
- Removal of both the breast- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer and have one breast suffering from cancer, doctors might suggest getting both the breasts removed to avoid the risk of getting breast cancer in future.
Note that the chances of getting breast cancer in another breast for breast cancer patients are rare, so discuss your case with the doctor before you decide to choose this surgical option.
In radiation therapy, the patient’s body is exposed to high energy waves like the X rays to kill the cancer cells. This is done either with the help of a machine that emits the rays or by implanting a radioactive material in your tissues.
Radiation therapy is commonly used as a secondary treatment after the primary surgery. External energy waves are used mostly after the patient gets a lumpectomy done. Similarly, after getting one breast removed through a mastectomy, patients are put through radiation therapy to make sure that the cancer is fully destroyed. This therapy is a safe treatment option with some minor side effects like fatigue, rash, and swelling of breast tissues.
Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy is used after the surgery to make sure that the cancer cells are gone for good. In chemotherapy, drugs are used to kill the rapidly growing cancer tumors. The drugs help in cases where the cancerous cells have started spreading to other parts of the body.
You must want to know that in some cases, chemotherapy is used before getting a surgery done, to shrink the tumor size to make the doctor’s work easy.
Note that the chemotherapy drugs are powerful, they might harm your body to a great extent. Some common side effects that chemotherapy patients undergo are nausea, hair loss, fatigue and in some rare cases heart and kidney disease.
In hormone therapy, medical drugs are used to prevent the hormone estrogen from boosting the growth of the cancer cells in the breast. Hormone therapy blocks the hormone and hence manages the cancer situation. This treatment method is used both before and after the surgery to control the cancer cells and to make sure that they don’t return. Some common side effects that people treated with this treatment complain about hot flashes, nausea and in some cases, bone thinning.
Targeted therapy drugs
Some popular breast cancer treatment resources claim that the targeted therapy drug is a new option to treat breast cancer. Targeted therapy is a more niche treatment as it deals with attacking specific abnormalities and issues within the cancer cell rather than attacking the whole cancer cell. Before starting targeted therapy, your doctor is most likely to test your cancer cells to study whether you will be benefited from this treatment or no.
When to see a doctor
The early sign of breast cancer is a lump or other abnormal formation on your breast. If you suspect that you might have breast cancer, see a doctor immediately. Note that whichever treatment option you pick, the aim should be to get rid of the cancer tumor and to make sure that the cancer tumors are gone for good.