Different Types of Breast Cancer Treatment and Procedures

A doctor determines the breast cancer treatment options depending on the type, stage, grade, and size of cancer and whether the cancer cells are hormonally sensitive. Also, the doctors consider your medical preferences and overall health. There are several options for treating breast cancer, and you might feel overwhelmed by the complex decisions you need to take in this regard. Here are some of the options that you need to consider for the treatment.

Breast cancer surgery

The most common breast cancer treatment is surgery. There are several types of breast cancer surgeries based on the spread and the condition of the disease: 

  • Lumpectomy (Removing the breast cancer)
  • Mastectomy (Removing the entire breast)
  • Sentinel node biopsy (Removing a few lymph nodes)
  • Axillary lymph node dissection (Removing several lymph nodes)
  • Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (Removing both breasts)

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapyutilizes high-powered energy beams, such as protons and X-rays, to kill the cancer cells. Typically, it is done by a machine that directs energy beams at the body (external beam radiation). However, radiation can be given by placing radioactive material in the body (brachytherapy).

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy utilizes drugs for destroying fast-growing cells like cancer cells. If cancer has a higher risk of spreading or returning to other parts of the body, the doctor can recommend chemotherapy after the surgery to reduce the chances of cancer recurring. 

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy or hormone-blocking therapy is used for treating hormone-sensitive breast cancers. Doctors refer to the cancers as progesterone receptor-positive (PR positive) and estrogen receptor-positive (ER positive) cancers.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system for cancer-fighting. The disease-fighting immunity in the body might not attack cancer as the cancer cells offer proteins that help to mislead the immune cells. Immunotherapy helps to interfere with the process.

Targeted therapy drugs

The targeted drug therapies attack particular abnormalities in the cancer cells. Some targeted therapy drugs focus on proteins that several breast cancer cells produce in excess like human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. This protein makes the breast cancer cells survive and grow. Targeting cells that produce excessive human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 makes the drugs damage the cancer cells and spare the healthy cells.

Palliative (supportive) care

Palliative care refers to specialized medical care that concentrates on offering pain relief and other symptoms of cancer. The palliative care specialists help the patient, their family, and the doctors offer an additional layer of support to complement the ongoing care. Supportive care can be used with other ongoing aggressive treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery.

When supportive care is given with other such cancer treatments, the patients tend to feel better and live longer.

The endnote

Consider the treatment options before giving your consent to any. So, talk to your doctor and discuss the treatment options in detail, so that they can formulate a comprehensive treatment plan.

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