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Breast Cancer Treatment Options

What are the Treatments for Breast Cancer?

Though there is no definitive cure for breast cancer, there are many different treatment options that are usually successful. The type of breast cancer treatment recommended for you will depend on the size of your tumor and the extent of the spread of the disease throughout the body. Age, menstrual status, underlying health issues, and personal preferences also play a role in this decision-making process as well.

Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove or destroy the disease within the breast and surrounding regions, such as lymph nodes. These include:

  • Surgery, either mastectomy or lumpectomy — also called breast-conserving therapy. There are different types of mastectomies and lumpectomies.
  • Radiation therapy

Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body and include chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Side effects can include nausea, hair loss, early menopause, hot flashes, fatigue, and temporarily lowered blood counts. Hormone therapy is also used in premenopausal and postmenopausal. Hormone therapy uses drugs to prevent hormones, especially estrogen, from promoting the growth of breast cancer cells that may remain after breast cancer surgery. Side effects can include hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Biological therapy works by using the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells. Systemic therapy may be given after local treatment or before). You may have just one form of breast cancer treatment or a combination of treatments, depending on your needs.

Breast Reconstruction

For patients who opt for a total mastectomy, reconstructive surgery may be used at the time of the mastectomy or at some subsequent time. Breast contour can be restored by the insertion of an artificial implant below the muscle. If a saline implant is used, a tissue expander can be inserted beneath the pectoral muscle. Saline is injected into the expander to stretch the tissues for a period of weeks or months until the desired volume is obtained. The tissue expander is then replaced by a permanent implant. Following breast reconstruction, radiation therapy can be delivered to the chest regions if the local disease recurs. Radiation therapy following reconstruction with a breast prosthesis may affect the subsequent look of the reconstructed breast.

Featured Image: depositphotos/garagestock

Posted on May 5, 2023