Thursday, 22 September 2016
Breast cancer treatment
Surgery is the removal of the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue during an operation. Surgery is also used to examine the lymph nodes. The types of surgery include the following:
· A lumpectomy: The removal of the tumor and a small, cancer-free margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. A lumpectomy may also be called breast-conserving surgery or a partial mastectomy.
· A mastectomy: The surgical removal of the entire breast.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. A radiation therapy regimen schedule usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time. Radiation therapy is given after a lumpectomy, and following adjuvant chemotherapy if recommended. Radiation therapy is usually given daily for a set number of weeks to get rid of any remaining cancer cells near the tumor site or elsewhere in the breast. This helps lower the risk of recurrence in the breast. It has been shown that with modern surgery and radiation therapy, recurrence rates in the breast are now less than 5% in the 10 years after treatment, and survival is the same with lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, which work by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Common ways to give chemotherapy include an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is swallowed (orally).
Not every person diagnosed with breast cancer needs chemotherapy. The doctor considers several factors when deciding if chemotherapy is an appropriate option, including:
· The type and stage of breast cancer
· How likely chemotherapy will work
· The overall goals of treatment
Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink a large tumor and make surgery easier, called neoadjuvant or preoperative chemotherapy. It may also be given after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence, called adjuvant chemotherapy.
Hormone therapy uses drugs to prevent hormones, especially estrogen, from fueling the growth of breast cancer cells. Some types of this therapy work by stopping the ovaries from making hormones, either through surgery or medication.
Targeted therapies prompt the body's immune system to destroy cancer. They target breast cancer cells that have high levels of a protein called HER2.