Medical science has seen many improvements in terms of diagnosing different diseases as well as curing them. Treatment for breast cancer is nothing different. Some of the treatments that are used for curing this disease are still being tested and few of them are in trial. There are a few standard techniques of curing cancer.
Five standard treatments for breast cancer
This is the most basic step if a subject is diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage. During surgery, the tumor as well as its surrounding tissue is removed. If through diagnosis, it is seen that a vast mass of the breast has chances of developing cancer, the entire breast is eliminated.
This is known as mastectomy. Partial mastectomy is also performed or only the tumor with a small amount of the tissues around it is removed. This is called lumpectomy.
Modified radical mastectomy may be done as well. In this procedure, the entire breast as well as lymph nodes from under the arm is removed. In severe cases, even the lining of the chest muscles or part of it is removed.
Chemotherapy is a popular treatment for breast cancer. Sometimes it is given before the surgery. Now and then, chemotherapy is continued as a follow up treatment. When it is done before the surgery, it is usually meant for reducing the volume of the tissue that would need to be removed. Follow up treatment with chemotherapy is carried out in order to kill the cancerous cells that might have been left out.
In this treatment, in order to inhibit the growth of the cancerous cells and sometimes to kill the cells that are continually dividing, drugs are taken orally. Occasionally, they are injected into vein or even the bloodstream. When drugs are taken through the mouth, they get into the bloodstream and reach the cancerous cells. There are specific drugs that are only approved for breast cancer cure. A health care provider would be the best person to know about them.
Radiation therapy is one of the several different treatments for breast cancer that has fetched good results after cure. In this treatment for breast cancer, high energy X-rays are used to kill the cells that have become cancerous and are growing.
Two kinds of radiation therapy are used. One is external therapy with radiation and the other is internal therapy with radiation.
External radiation therapy is done by means of an appliance outside the body which sends radiation waves towards the cancerous cells. In internal radiation therapy, substances are injected inside the body. These substances are sometimes sealed in needles, and at other times in catheters, wires or seeds. When placed close to the cancerous organs, the radiation destroys the cancerous cells.
In this process, the action of the hormones which triggers the growth of the cancer cells is blocked. In the early stages of the treatment for breast cancer, tamoxifen is used in patients. This hormone acts on the cells that have chances of developing into endometrial cancer. In post-menopausal women, an aromatase inhibitor is tried out.
Other than the above treatments, certain targeted therapy, monoclonal antibody therapy and therapy with PARP inhibitor are also tried.