Effectively Treating Breast Cancer

With advanced technology, research, and testing, patients now have more options for breast cancer treatment than ever before. With so many alternatives, it is a great idea to take time to understand what you are up against. The primary goal of any breast cancer treatment is to first, eradicate all traces of cancer, and secondly, to prevent the disease from recurring. Although the causes of breast cancer remain unknown, many cancer researchers link the disease to the BRCA genes (both BRCA 1 and 2). Other scientific research, however, counters the belief that BRCA genes do not cause cancer.

Regardless of the cause (i.e., family history of breast cancer), these treatments are commonly used to fight breast cancer:

1. Surgery
Surgery for breast cancer entails removing the tumor located in either or both breasts, as determined in a mammogram and typically a margin of surrounding healthy tissue as well. If the tumor is extensive, the oncologist will recommend a mastectomy, which removes the whole breast.

2. Radiation therapy
The treatment utilizes controlled doses of high energy particles to destroy cancer cells. There are multiple choices under radiation therapy namely; brachytherapy, external beam radiation therapy, and intraoperative radiation therapy. Whichever method you choose, all have proven to be effective secondary breast cancer treatments. Radiotherapy is often coupled with another therapy (i.e., chemo and/or surgery) to eliminate cancer ultimately.

3. Chemotherapy
The treatment involves inducing the body with anti-cancer drugs to kill the cancer cells. Usually, it is combined with a surgical procedure to remove any existing cancer cells that may have been left behind. Also, after a mammogram result confirms that the tumor has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes to adjacent body organs, chemotherapy is used to shrink the tumor. By shrinking the tumor, it helps keep breast cancer symptoms containable for some time.

4. Hormone therapy
According to scientific and medical research, some cancerous tumors are triggered to start growing by hormones found naturally within the body. Breast cancer screening should reveal a growing tumor and, if it is found to have been caused by hormones, your oncologist will suggest hormone therapy as an option. Most people affected by this type of breast cancer happen to be either in the menopause or highly productive years when production of hormones is high. Hormone therapy involves regulating the hormone concentration or inhibiting its production in order to shrink the tumor into a size that can be removed through surgery.

5. Biologic therapy
Also known as targeted therapy, aids the body’s immune system to kill off the cancer cells. These cancer cells could have been promoted by a protein HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). If the tests taken reveal that the target breast cancer cells contain high levels of protein HER2, then biological therapy will be your doctor’s best bet. The therapy involves inducing the patient with medication such as pertuzumab, and trastuzumab. These drugs will work by blocking the substance that encourages breast cancer growth.