Treatment Methods For Breast Cancer
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Millions of women die every year from breast cancer. It is considered as the most deadly form of cancer that affects women after lung cancer. As the weaker sex is generally careless about their own health, most cases of breast cancer are unfortunately detected when it has reached an advanced stage where treatment methods do not offer much solace and cure.
Here, we discuss the competent treatment methods available for breast cancer patients. A lot depends on the stage of cancer being treated and the patient’s responsiveness to the treatment methods, expertise of the doctor and finally, the kind of breast cancer being treated.
Methods Of Treatment For Breast Cancer
The normal treatment course that is undertaken for a breast cancer patient is surgery, hormone replacement therapy, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Surgery is the first line treatment method that is adopted for all kinds of cancers. The cancerous mass is removed as much as possible through surgery. During the initial stages of breast cancer, the tumour growth will be very small and in such cases, a lumpectomy will be done where only the lump is removed from the breast, retaining the breast tissue and milk ducts without much damage.
Mastectomy is a surgical procedure undertaken for advanced breast cancer. The entire breast tissue is sometimes removed and doctor might even suggest the removal of both the breast if you have a genetic disposition and to prevent recurrence as well.
As breast cancer is a hormone related cancer, any hormone fluctuation in the body can aggravate the growth of the cancer cells. To prevent this, hormone therapy is done where the patient’s hormone production is blocked so that the cancer growth is blocked or reduced.
Once the surgery is undertaken, radiation treatment is administered so that any traces of tumour present in the area is destroyed completely, preventing recurrence. Radiation treatment is done for shrinking the size of the tumour as well before surgery. Radiation can be given as external beams or internally when a radioactive substance is inserted inside the tumour to kill the tumour cells.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs for treating cancerous cells in the body. As the effect of the drug reaches all parts of the body, chemotherapy is generally aimed at killing cancer cells that may have metastasised to other parts of the body and also to kill any cells that might have reached other parts of the body through the lymph nodes and blood stream. It is administered intravenously or as pills.
Stage IV of breast or any other form of cancer will not respond to most conventional treatment as the cancer has by now metastasised to other organs and the life expectancy of the patient is highly compromised.
In such cases, newer medicines can be tried on the patient as a trial to test its efficacy. If lucky, many patients survive a few more months are the really lucky ones would witness great breakthroughs in medical research. However, participating in clinical trials is a matter of life and death.
Photo Credit: Breastscancersymptoms.com