Breast cancer is a common type of cancer that can affect women of all ages. Fortunately, if the cancer is detected early, treatment is extremely successful and many women go on to live a full and active life.
Once diagnosed with breast cancer, physicians or oncologists would recommend treatment based on the progression of the disease. Some women refuse suggested treatment and opt for natural healing.
While some have been cured using the latter, doctors warned that this is not always effective, especially in the case of advanced stages. Hence, it is still wise for patients to adhere to the advice of their doctor, and select proven-effective breast cancer treatments such as the following:
Breast cancer surgery
Undergoing surgery to remove cancer cells from the breast is still considered as one of the most effective breast cancer treatments. There are three different types of breast cancer surgery, with the first two intended to conserve the breast: lumpectomy, partial mastectomy and total mastectomy.
Lumpectomy is a procedure to remove the cancerous lump or tumor from the breast while surrounding tissue may also be removed to examine for the presence of cancer cells. The lymph nodes under the arm are removed as well.
Partial mastectomy, on the other hand, removes a small portion of the breast containing cancerous cells and surrounding tissues. Like the first option, this surgery also removes lymph nodes under the arm.
Finally, there’s the total mastectomy for advance stages. If the cancer has spread throughout the breast, its entire removal is necessary.
Radiation and chemotherapy
Even if cancerous cells are effectively removed from the breast, oncologists may still recommend additional treatments—such as radiation and chemotherapy—to kill microscopic cancer cells and prevent the growth of new malignant cells.
Radiation utilizes high-energy x-rays to destroy malignant cells. If radiation therapy is suggested, patients have can either opt for external radiation or internal therapy. With external radiation, a machine emits radiation to the cancerous cells from outside the body, whereas internal radiation transmits radiation into the body using needles or tubes.
Chemotherapy is another effective treatment that employs a range of drugs to halt the development and growth of cancer cells. Like radiation, chemotherapy drugs will destroy malignant cells and prevent cancerous cells from spreading.
Whether administered by mouth or through injection, the drug will reach cancer through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy may also be injected directly into an organ.
Another treatment available for breast cancer patients is hormone therapy which removes hormones and, like the aforementioned treatments, prevents the growth of new cancer cells.
Because certain hormones can cause breast cancers, blocking them has become an effective treatment. The most common hormone therapy is called tamoxifen.
For the most part, hormone therapy is administered to patients diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer but if their stages have been identified as advance, this option may be ineffective.
A caution thought for women who would opt for hormone therapy—they have an increased chance of developing eudiometrical cancer. Therefore, it is vital for women employing this type of breast cancer treatment to obtain pelvic examinations and pap smears on an annual basis. A common sign of endometrial cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding.
About the author: Valencia Higuera is a freelance journalist based in Chesapeake, Virginia, USA and a featured writer of ArticlesGratuits.Com. An Old Dominion University graduate, she has a degree in English with additional credits in creative writing and journalism.