Treating Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths in women. While it can be a very scary diagnosis, breast cancer does respond to a variety of treatments that have been used successfully to help restore the patient to their normal activities and back to better health. The medical team charged with putting together the best treatment plan for their patient works with the information they have – including stage and grade of cancer – and customizes a treatment plan that not only effectively and aggressively attacks the malignancy but works within the patient’s lifestyle in a way that makes returning them to their normal routine a priority.

What are the treatment options for breast cancer?

Surgery – When breast cancer is still confined to the breast itself, surgery is found to be an excellent treatment option. During surgery, the cancer tumor is removed. In some cases a partial or full mastectomy is performed and nearby lymph nodes are examined to determine if cancer cells have spread.

Radiation Therapy – There are a variety of radiation treatments available for breast cancer including accelerated breast irradiation, 3D-conformal radiotherapy, and brachytherapy (internal radiation). Radiation therapy can be performed as the main treatment for breast cancer or as treatment following surgery.

Chemotherapy – Delivers drugs throughout the body that target cancer cells. Physicians often choose chemotherapy when the cancer has spread to ensure that all cancer cells are found and eradicated.

Hormone Therapy – This therapy blocks the estrogen receptors in cancer cells which prevents those cells from dividing and continuing to grow. Hormone therapy is often used in conjunction with other therapies.

In addition to the type, stage, and grade of cancer, a treatment plan must also take into account a patient’s age and overall health. Using all of this information, the physician creates a treatment plan that in many cases combines a variety of therapies in a way that allows for the greatest chance for success with the lowest risk of side-effects to the patient.

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