Treatments for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts from tissues of the breast. There are two types of breast cancer:

  1. Ductal carcinoma:

    This starts from the ducts or tubes that transfer milk from breast to the nipple.

  2. Lobular carcinoma:

    This cancer starts from the lobules of the breast which produces milk.

In very rare cases this cancer starts from any other area of breast.

Treatments for breast cancer

are very important as breast holds the most significant part of every woman.

What are the Treatments for Breast Cancer?

Treatments for breast cancer

depend on many factors, namely:

  • Type of cancer
  • Stage of cancer
  • Sensitivity of cancer towards certain hormones
  • Cancer produced genes called as HER2.

The most common treatment for this cancer includes:

  • Chemotherapy method to kill cancerous cells
  • Radiation therapy to destroy cancer effected tissues
  • Removal of cancerous tissue by a lumpectomy. This removes the breast lump.
  • Another surgery known as mastectomy is used to remove all or some parts of the breast including nearby structures.
  • Hormones therapy is used for women having Eosterogen-positive breast cancer. This therapy block certain hormones which stimulate cancer cell growth. The best example for this therapy is the use of drug called as tamoxifen. This blocks the estrogen hormone effect as they stimulate the growth and survival of breast cancer cells. Woman with estrogen receptors are benefitted with this therapy as this therapy reduces the size of tumor and then it’s easy to remove the tumor.
  • One more medicines known as aromatase inhibitors, example includes exemestane (Aromasin), has shown to work even better than tamoxifen in postmenopausal women suffering from breast cancer.

Targeted therapy is also called as biologic therapy and is a new type of cancer treatment. This treatment uses special anticancer medicines which targets certain changes in a cell that can become cancerous. One more drug is trastuzumab also known as Herceptin, which is used for HER2-positive cancer.
Cancer treatment even depends on the position of cancer and can be local or systemic:

  1. Local treatments involve the area or location of disease. Radiation therapy and surgery forms the local treatment.
  2. Systemic treatments affect the whole body. Chemotherapy forms the systemic treatment.

Most women receives the combination of local and systemic treatments. If the woman is having stage I, II, or III breast cancer, then the main goal is to treat the cancer and prevent it from reoccurring. For women having stage IV cancer, the importance is to improve symptoms and help them have a longer life. In most cases, breast cancer at this stage cannot be cured. Various phases along with their specific treatments are mentioned below:

  • Phase 0 and DCIS — Lumpectomy along with radiation or mastectomy is the mostly used treatment. This is the best stage to cure cancer and control their reoccurrence.
  • Phase I and II — Lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy with the removal of lymph node is the prescribed treatment. Hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy are also recommended post surgery.
  • Phase III — Treatment involves surgery followed by chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy.
  • Phase IV — Treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, radiation or a combination of these treatments.

After treatment, some women will continue to take medications such as tamoxifen for a period of time. All women will continue to have blood tests, mammograms, and other tests following treatment.
Women who have had a mastectomy may have reconstructive breast surgery, either at the same time as the mastectomy or later.

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