Breast cancer treatment strategies are diverse and frequently founded on a multi-modality strategy, depending on the stage and biology of the tumor, as well as the patient’s acceptance and tolerance. Surgery, radiotherapy, and systemic treatment (endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy) may be among them.
The biology and behavior of breast cancer influence breast cancer treatment strategy. Some tumors are tiny but rapidly growing, while others are larger but slowly growing. Treatment options and suggestions are highly personalized and are determined by various factors such as the tumor’s subtype and stage, the patient’s age, general health, and so on.
Breast Cancer Treatment Options
Treatment of Breast cancer can be done with a variety of methods. It is determined by the type of breast cancer and the extent to which it has progressed. Breast cancer patients frequently receive more than one type of therapy.
Doctors may suggest systemic treatment with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy before surgery for larger cancers or those that are growing rapidly. This is known as neoadjuvant therapy. There may be several advantages to receiving drug therapy before the surgery:
- Because the tumor is lesser, surgery may be simpler.
- Your doctor may investigate whether certain cancer therapies are effective.
- A clinical trial may allow you to try a new treatment.
- If you have a microscopic distant illness, the drug therapy that circulates throughout the body will treat it sooner.
If the tumor shrinks enough before the breast cancer surgery, people who would have required a mastectomy may be able to have breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy).
Breast Cancer Surgery
An operation in which surgeons remove cancerous tissue. Doctors usually suggest surgery to remove a tumor in early-stage invasive breast cancer. The surgeon will also remove a tiny area of healthy tissue around the tumour, known as a margin, to ensure that the complete tumour is removed. Although breast cancer surgery aims to remove all visible cancer from the breast, microscopic cells may remain. In some cases, this may necessitate another operation to remove the remaining cancer cells.
Inoperable means that breast cancer surgery is not feasible. The doctor will then suggest alternative cancer treatments. Cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted treatment, radiation therapy, and/or hormonal therapy.
Chemotherapy. Special medications are used in chemo to shrink or destroy cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you ingest, medicines injected into your veins, or both.
Hormone replacement treatment. This therapy prevents the cancer cells from receiving the hormones they require to develop.
Biological treatment. Helps your body’s immune system fight cancer cells or manage side effects from other cancer treatments.
Radiation treatment. High-energy rays (similar to X-rays) are used to destroy cancer cells.
Following breast cancer surgery, the next step in treating early-stage breast cancer is to reduce the risk of recurrence and to attempt to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells are undetectable by current tests, but they are thought to be accountable for cancer recurrence because they can multiply over time. Adjuvant therapy refers to breast cancer treatment provided after surgery. Radiation treatment, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy are examples of adjuvant therapies.
The need for adjuvant therapy is determined by the likelihood that any cancer cells remain in the breast or body and the likelihood that a particular treatment will work to treat cancer. Although adjuvant therapy reduces the chance of recurrence, it does not eliminate it.
Take the time to learn about your breast cancer treatment choices and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Discuss the goals of each treatment with your doctor, as well as what to anticipate during treatment. These discussions are known as “joint decision-making.” When you and your doctors collaborate to choose treatments that meet the objectives of your care, this is referred to as shared decision-making. Because there are various breast cancer treatment options, shared decision-making is incredibly essential.