Getting a breast cancer diagnosis can have numerous physical and psychological effects on you. It is estimated that about 43,600 American women die of breast cancer every year. When looking for breast cancer treatment services, your medical team will take you through various treatment options that exist. It is good to know them as it is vital in making an informed decision.
Breast cancer treatment is a long journey that involves systematic therapies and surgery. Here are five standard treatment options that your oncological team may suggest for you:
One of the most famous breast cancer treatment options is surgery. A surgical oncologist performs the procedure to remove the tumor and examine the nearby axillary lymph nodes. There are two principal types of breast cancer surgery that the doctor may recommend for you:
- Lumpectomy: This procedure removes the tumor and a small portion of the surrounding cells.
- Mastectomy: The entire breast is surgically removed.
Chemotherapy is the administration of anti-cancer drugs by mouth or intravenously. Once administered, the drugs travel through the bloodstream, reaching and destroying cancer cells. However, there is a high risk of the drugs attacking normal non-cancerous cells.
You should talk with your breast cancer treatment service provider to see if you will need chemo. In most cases, chemo is recommended in three main situations:
- Before Surgery: If the tumor is too big, your oncologist may recommend chemo to shrink it in preparation for an operation at a later date.
- Advanced Breast Cancer Treatment: Sometimes, chemo can be administered as the primary treatment option, even without surgery, primarily when cancer has spread to other organs.
- After surgery: Since surgery does not guarantee the total removal of all cancer cells, chemo may be necessary to kill any cancerous cells that may have been left behind.
3. Hormone Therapy
If breast cancer is caused by progesterone and estrogen hormones, then your oncologist may recommend hormone therapy. Typically, a cancer cell has receptors that can attach to progesterone and estrogen, facilitating their growth. In this context, hormone therapy seeks to stop the two hormones from attaching to cancer cells, leading to the cancer cells' natural death.
Did you know that your immune system can be stimulated to fight cancer cells? Due to the adverse effects of chemo, most breast cancer treatment service providers are considering immunotherapy since it does not attack normal cells. Certain drugs target your checkpoint proteins, enabling your body to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Even after the above treatment options are successfully administered, breast cancer may recur. In this case, your oncologist may recommend radiation therapy to eradicate all cancer cells. The treatment is also recommended when breast cancer cells have spread to other body parts.
You should contact breast cancer treatment services for a detailed discussion about various available treatment options. Once you have the correct information, you can make an informed treatment plan decision.