Every cancer treatment is finally aimed at two objectives: to get rid of the tumor cells and to prevent remission. Breast cancer treatment options offered depends on many factors: the type of breast cancer, the size of the tumor and its spread, presence of hormone specific receptors on the tumor, menstrual status and age.

The treatment options available for breast cancer are discussed below. The final verdict and treatment plan involves a mutual agreement between the patient and breast cancer specialist.

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Local Treatment

Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast Cancer Treatment – Local Treatment

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1. Breast Cancer Surgery

It involves removal of the breast tissue that has abnormal cells in it. Depending on the spread and your consent, both the tumor and surrounding tissues can be removed (lumpectomy) or the entire breast can be removed (mastectomy). The purpose is to essentially remove a large mass of tumor initially that will facilitate the action of therapies that will follow.

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2. Radiation Therapy

It utilizes high-energy rays to target cancer cells. It is localized in action. Depending on the course of treatment decided by the physicians, radiation can be done prior to surgery (to remove the load of cancer cells or can be done post it to remove the remaining cancerous cells, if any).

Systemic treatments

1. Chemotherapy

It is one of the most discussed treatment options. It is feared because of the severe side effects. However, things have changed drastically.Now, highly specific drugs with fewer side effects are being used. We should also take note that chemotherapy is indicated when the cancer cells have moved out of their organ of origin to other organs. It is suggested when the cancer cells can no longer be contained. Since the drugs are administered into the blood circulation, cancerous cells spread to all tissues are killed. Side effects, happen when healthy cells are killed along with cancerous cells. You have to weigh the long-term benefits rather than focusing on short-term side effects like nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.

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Breast Cancer Treatment - Systemic Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment – Systemic Treatment

2. Hormone Therapy

Your initial array of tests might help the physician understand if hormone therapy can be a possible treatment alternative. Positive ER/PR tests would reflect receptivity for estrogen & progesterone). Estrogen which is a female sex hormone stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy blocks estrogen from binding to these receptors. Thus, it blocks the tumor growth.  It is recommended prior to surgery to reduce the tumor load and after surgery to reduce chances of remission. Few therapeutic drugs work well when they have specific receptors like Her2. Absence of these receptors reduce the possibility of hormone therapy being used successfully.

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