Breast cancer treatment options may vary depending on the stage of the breast cancer diagnosis. That is why your doctor must first determine the stage of the cancer. In addition, the patient’s age, history, genetic identity and health status are factors affecting the treatment method to be applied.
There are more breast cancer treatment options, with a chance of full treatment, available, if the disease is diagnosed early and has not progressed. However, in advanced breast cancers, the tumor size and the spread of cancer cells to lymph nodes or other parts of the body make the treatment difficult.
Breast Cancer Treatment
In breast cancer treatment, multiple methods such as surgery, radiation therapy, and drug therapy can be applied. Doctors may create a treatment plan for the simultaneous application of different treatment methods. The treatments to be applied are planned specifically for the patient depending on the general condition of the patient and the type of cancer.
Surgical intervention is among the most common breast cancer treatment options, as an effective method of choice, for breast cancer patients. The tumor in the breast tissue and some of the surrounding tissue are removed surgically. There are several different methods of surgery for breast cancer.
Lumpectomy: The tumor or abnormal cells in the breast are removed by surgical intervention. In this method, most of the chest remains. After the operation, depending on the condition of the tumor and the patient, radiation therapy can follow. Women with moderate-risk gene mutations such as CHEK2 or ATM and women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 are candidates for this procedure.
Mastectomy: In this method, one or both breasts are removed by surgery. The breast tissue can be completely removed or partially removed.
Removing a limited number of lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy): It is performed to determine whether breast cancer can metastasize to lymph nodes. If no cancerous cells are found in these lymph nodes, it is unlikely to be present in other lymph nodes, therefore, preventing further lymph node surgery.
Removing several lymph nodes (axillary lymph node dissection): If a cancerous cell is found in the sentinel lymph nodes, other lymph nodes in your armpit can be removed by surgery.
Removing both breasts: If the patient, who has had breast cancer, has a high risk of developing cancer in the other breast due to genetic predisposition or other cancer cases in her family, it may be recommended by the doctor to remove both breasts.
In radiation therapy, technologies such as X-rays and protons kill cancerous cells. Either an external beam radiation device is used or a radioactive substance (brachytherapy) is placed inside the body.
Chemotherapy uses drugs that target cancer cells. It can be applied after surgery in cases where cancer has a high risk of spreading or recurrence. In cases where the size of the tumor is still small, it can shrink the tumor before surgery. It can also be used to control cancer when the disease metastasizes and to reduce the side effects it creates.
By binding to them, breast cancer cells can be fed from hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Using drugs that stop the production of estrogen and progesterone prevent the growth and spread of the tumor. It can be used before or after surgery.
Targeted Therapy is a treatment method that minimizes damage to healthy cells by targeting tissues or proteins that allow cancer to grow and spread. These treatments target more specific factors unlike chemotherapy.
Immunotherapy activates the immune system, allowing it to fight cancer. Cancer cells produce proteins that neutralize your immune system. Immunotherapy interferes with these proteins, allowing your body to naturally fight cancer. It can be combined with chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
Medical professionals and researchers are continuing to look for new ways to provide better treatment for breast cancer patients. Clinical trials investigate the effects of a new treatment or drugs on patients. It aims at improving the treatment methods of breast cancer patients, finding new drugs, improving the quality of life while prolonging it. Massive Bio brings you together with clinics and researchers who research your disease. You can contact Massive Bio to learn more about breast cancer clinical research.