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How can we treat breast cancer ?

A variety of factors will influence the decisions you and your health care provider make about your treatment. These include: your overall health, your age and medical history; the type and stage of your breast cancer; the available treatments (and their side effects); and your goal and preferences for treatment.

Local treatment

It is used to treat a tumor without affecting the rest of the body. Surgery and radiation are examples of local treatment.

1. Surgery

The main mode of treatment for breast cancer is surgery, especially so when the tumor is localized.
– Breast conserving surgery: An operation to remove the cancer but not the breast is called breast-sparing surgery.
– Lumpectomy: The surgeon removes the breast cancer and some normal tissue around it.
– Segmental mastectomy: The surgeon removes the cancer and a larger area of normal breast tissue around it. Occasionally, some of the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor is removed as well. Some lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.
– Total mastectomy: The surgeon removes the whole breast. Some lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.
– Radical mastectomy: The surgeon removes the breast, both chest muscles, all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and some additional fat and skin.
– Axillary Lymph node dissection: Removing some or all of the lymph nodes in the arm pit. Usually 10 to 20 lymph nodes in the arm pit are removed.

2. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.

Systemic treatment

This treatment is given into the bloodstream or by mouth and goes throughout the body to reach cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy are systemic treatments.

1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. There are many different kinds of chemotherapy drugs. Often they are used in combination called regimens. The prime target for such medicines is cancer cells that are actively growing and dividing. Unfortunately, anticancer medicines are not able to recognize cancer cells specifically and they also kill normally dividing cells such as the blood and hair cells.

2.Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow.
– Hormone therapy with tamoxifen is often given to patients with early stages of breast cancer and those with metastatic breast cancer.
– Hormone therapy with tamoxifen or estrogens can act on cells all over the body and may increase the chance of developing endometrial cancer.
– Hormone therapy with an aromatase inhibitor is given to some postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.
– Monoclonal antibody therapy is a cancer treatment that uses antibodies made in the laboratory, from a single type of immune system cell. These antibodies can identify substances on cancer cells or normal substances that may help cancer cells grow.
– Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are targeted therapy drugs that block signals needed for tumors to grow. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors may be used in combination with other anticancer drugs as adjuvant therapy.

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