Treatment for breast cancer is often most effective when people recognize symptoms early. Once the cancer reaches advanced stages, it can be more difficult to remove and the treatment required can cause more severe side effects for the patient. Contemporary treatments for breast cancer have been effective for many people. You should speak to your doctor about your options so you can decide which treatment is right for you.
Surgical treatment for breast cancer is one of the most popular treatments. The advantage of surgery is doctors can make a small incision and remove only the cancerous cells to prevent their spreading to other parts of the body. Some women and men have found that they enter long periods of remission after surgery. Others, however, find surgery more effective when used in conjunction with other treatments.
Many women fear that breast cancer surgery means they will have to have their breasts removed. In many cases, mastectomies (the complete removal of the breast) are unnecessary. Today, surgeons can simply remove tumors via small incisions. Those who have had recurrent episodes of breast cancer or who are at a high risk of recurrence, however, might choose mastectomies because it greatly reduces the chances that they will, in the future, develop cancerous cells that could spread to other parts of the body.
Many patients undergo radiation treatments for breast cancer because it can eliminate cancer cells that are too small to remove or locate during surgery. There are two different types of radiation treatment for breast cancer. The external option uses beams of energy to kill cancer cells. The internal option uses radiation pellets that are inserted into the breast in close proximity to the cancer cells, killing the tumors.
While radiation treatments for breast cancer can be very effective, especially in conjunction with surgery, they may cause unwanted side effects in many patients. This makes radiation therapy an effective option for patients who are healthy and can withstand the necessary levels of radiation.
Drug treatment for breast cancer (often referred to as chemotherapy) uses medications that kill or greatly suppress cancer cells. The drugs are available in oral or injection forms. Like radiation treatments for breast cancer, medications can cause serious side effects that some patients cannot tolerate. When used in conjunction with radiation or surgery treatments, though, this can be an effective treatment plan.
If your doctor diagnoses you with breast cancer, you should be sure to ask her or him about all of the treatments available. Medical research advances quickly, and new treatments could be discovered at any time. You doctor will help you choose a personalized treatment for breast cancer that fits your specific case. Many patients get the best benefits from a combination of treatments, so don’t be surprised if your doctor suggests the use of multiple treatment options simultaneously.