Treatment

Treatment of breast cancer depends upon stage of the disease. Chances of full recovery depend upon the timeliness of detection. Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery and followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy or a combination of both.

 We are listing the various methods by which Breast cancer is treated:

  1. Surgery: Surgery is done for the removal of the cancer tumour and some amount of tissue surrounding the tumour. Standard surgeries include:
  2. Mastectomy: This involves removal of the whole breast. This is an effective way to stop advancement of cancer and is also a very good preventive measure.
  3. Quadrantectomy: Removal of one quarter of the breast.
  4. Lumpectomy: This involves the removal of a small part of the breast.

Following breast cancer surgery, patient may use prosthesis for aesthetic appearance of the operated site. Breast reconstruction surgery may also be opted for which is like a plastic surgery.

  1. Medication: Various drug therapies are available for the treatment of cancer. These therapies involve administration of drugs that kill the cancer cells. We are listing three main groups of drug therapies below:
  1. Hormone blocking therapy: Some breast cancers utilize estrogen for their growth. These cancer cells have estrogen and progesterone receptors on their surface. Drugs that block these receptors are administered to counteract the development of such cancers. Examples of such drugs are tamoxifen, anastrozole, and letrozole.
  2. Chemotherapy: This therapy is employed predominantly for cases of breast cancer stages 2-4 and is especially beneficial in estrogen receptor negative cases. Chemotherapy medications are typically administered in combinations and usually for a time period of 3-6 months. The commonly administered drugs in this therapy are cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, docetaxel, methotrexate, and fluorouracil. Chemotherapy functions by destroying the fast replicating cancer cells by causing DNA damage or through other mechanisms.
  3. Monoclonal antibodies: This therapy involves administration of antibodies that work on a genetic level in the cancer cells. Example of such an antibody is Trastuzumab. This antibody prevents growth factors from being able to attach to and stimulate the receptors, effectively inhibiting the growth of the cancer cells.
  1. Radiation: Radiotherapy is administered to the site from where the tumour has been removed and also to the regional lymph nodes where microscopic tumour cells might have survived surgery. Radiation therapy is administered as external beam therapy or brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). This therapy can be administered during surgery but is most usually administered after the operation. Radiotherapy can reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer by 50-66% when delivered in correct doses. It is essential when the tumour has been removed by lumpectomy.