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Effective Breast Cancer Treatment Options

There has been increased advancement in breast cancer treatments, and now people have more options to choose from. Breast cancer treatments help in eliminating the body of cancer and also helps to prevent the disease from recurring. When making a treatment plan decision, also consider a clinical trial as an option.

The biology and characteristic of your breast cancer will affect your treatment plan. The treatment options and recommendations depend on the tumor’s subtype including the status of the hormone receptor, the stage of the cancer, the genomic markets, the presence of mutations and the age, general health, preferences and menopausal status of the patient.

Here are some of the most effective treatment options for breast cancer:

  • Surgery – Surgery may remove the whole breast through a mastectomy or remove the cancer and some healthy tissue around it in a process known as lumpectomy. Discuss with the doctor to understand the pros and cons of each procedure. It has been observed that mastectomy does not help a patient live longer.
  • Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high energy radioactive waves to kill the cancer cells. It may also be used to destroy or control the cancer cells all over the body. Radiation can be performed through a machine outside the body, or you can have tiny seeds implanted inside the tumor location inside the breast.
  • Chemotherapy – This is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The powerful medicines are taken orally or through an IV to fight the disease throughout the body. It is given after surgery to kill the cancer cells left behind but can also be given before surgery to shrink tumors. Chemo is effective but can also damage healthy cells. It causes side effects such as hair loss, nausea, early menopause, fatigue and hot flashes.
  • Hormone therapy – It also uses drugs to prevent hormones like estrogen and progesterone from growing and fueling breast cancer growth. Some of the medicines for hormone therapy include tamoxifen (Soltamox, Nolvadex) for all women and aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin) and letrozole (Femara) which are ideal for postmenopausal women.
  • Targeted therapy – It’s the use of medicines to prompt the body’s immune system to fight back and destroy cancer. Drugs such as lapatinib (Tykerb), pertuzumab, (Perjeta) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) target the breast cancer cells with high levels of the HER2 protein. Some other medicines work by blocking substances that promote the growth of cancer.

You might receive a combination of surgery or radiation with either hormone therapy, chemotherapy or targeted therapy to help kill any remaining cancer cells in the body. You can talk to the doctors about the benefits and risks involved with each treatment or join a support group or a clinical trial.


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