While there is not a universal cure for breast cancer, some patients have entered long-term and even lifelong periods of remission, giving hope to others who struggle with the disease. With new, promising treatment options being studied every day, there is always a chance that a cure for breast cancer can be found. The Breast Cancer Society is one of many organizations devoting a large amount of money and time to the search for a cure.
Some cases of breast cancer are treated well with surgery. Patients with stages I or II breast cancer who undergo surgery to remove tumors are often able to forego drug and radiation treatments that can cause unwanted side effects. While any surgery can be scary, it sometimes offers a better option. The idea of a mastectomy–the complete removal of the breast–may be daunting for some women, but is often called for in cases when the patient is at risk for a recurrence of cancer. For some patients, a physician may prescribe small regimens of chemo or radiation to supplement surgery for even stage 0 or I breast cancer. Finding your own treatment plan can only be determined after a thorough consultation with your doctor.
Radiation has been used successfully to treat a variety of cancers. It is one of the most effective cures for breast cancer, and some research scientists have found that surgical cures for breast cancer work best when paired with radiation therapies. There are two types of radiation treatments your doctor might suggest. External radiation treatments use high energy beams to eliminate the cancerous cells from the body. Internal radiation methods use pellets of material that emit radiation. These pellets are implanted in the body near the cancerous region, where they can kill off the cancer cells.
While surgery and radiation work well for some patients, many scientists are currently focusing on drug cures for breast cancer. Some extremely innovative drugs have been developed, but so far none of them have been found to cure all types of breast cancer in all patients. The most commonly used drug “cure” for breast cancer is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken in pill form or as an injection. The drugs essentially poison the cancerous cells so that they die, leaving healthy cells behind to repopulate the area.
Some breast cancer “cures” and treatments can cause serious side effects in patients. Patients who undergo surgery must be healthy enough to recover from the trauma associated with this treatment. Otherwise, the treatment itself could kill the patient.
As doctors and research scientists continue their important work in the fight against breast cancer, women and men should make healthy lifestyle choices to decrease their risks of getting the disease. Until a cure is found, prevention is the best way to fight breast cancer.