There are a variety of ways to fight breast cancer. If an individual is diagnosed with the illness, her choice of treatment options will depend on a few factors. These factors are the type of breast cancer that she has, its stage and her overall health otherwise. The affected individual will discuss her treatment options with her doctor. Usually, the resulting treatment plan will involve the use of a combination of methods.
There are two types of surgery options to fight breast cancer: lumpectomy or mastectomy. A lumpectomy, also known as breast conserving surgery, involves removing the tumor as well as some of the surrounding tissue. A mastectomy is a more invasive procedure and involves removing the entire breast. Usually, those who get a lumpectomy follow it up with radiation therapy, whereas only some individuals who get a mastectomy will receive radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a procedure that makes use of targeted x-rays to kill any remaining cancer cells left over after surgery. Doctors perform this treatment to fight against breast cancer recurrence. It is useful following a lumpectomy because breast tissue still remains after this surgery.
Chemotherapy is another type of procedure that kills cancer cells; it also serves to disable or weaken these cells. This procedure affects the entire body, from the area where the cancer originates to wherever the cells end up. Some instances when an affected individual might consider chemotherapy are before surgery or radiation therapy.
Hormone therapy helps fight hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. In this type of breast cancer, the cancer cells need hormone receptors in order to grow. To stop or reduce the growth of these cancer cells, the affected individual might use medications such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. Tamoxifen blocks estrogen while aromatase inhibitors reduce the amount of estrogen in the body.
Targeted therapy refers to treatment that specifically aims at certain cancer-related elements. For example, the use of the drug trastuzumab serves to block a certain protein that helps cancer cells grow. Since targeted therapy is so specific in its focus, it might not be a viable option for many who have breast cancer.
Though there are many different treatment options to fight breast cancer and an individual can recover from the illness, no method is guaranteed to provide success. It is important, then, that an individual diagnosed with breast cancer talk to a doctor about her specific situation and options. During treatment, she should then follow her specialized treatment plan.