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Breast Cancer Treatment
The treatment of breast cancer is determined primarily by the stage of the disease.Currently, in most of the cases when breast cancer is detected it is already an invasive cancer.This is generally because females dont pay much attention towards self breast examinationand thus, breast cancer treatment calls for a combination of treatment modalities.

Breast Cancer Treatments

The breast cancer treatment plans can be divided into two categories namely, local therapy and systemic therapy.

Local Therapy For Treating Breast Cancer

It is designed to remove or kill the cancer cells in the breast and adjacent lymph nodes.It involves surgery, radiation, or both.
Surgery involves removal of a part or whole of the cancerous breast and in most cases removal of lymph nodes in the axilla.The exact extent of breast removal depends on the extent of spread and the surgeon’s choice.Sometimes it is possible to provide the patient with a few alternatives regarding the extent of breast removal.

Mastectomy

There are many terms used in connection with breast cancer surgery. Mastectomy is a general term for removal of the breast. A modified radical mastectomy involves removal of the breast and the axillary lymph nodes. A simple mastectomy removes the breast, but not the lymph nodes. Lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, and quadrentectomy refer to removing only a portion of the breast. An axillary dissection means removal of a portion of the lymph nodes under the arm.
Radiation therapy is the use of special high energy x-ray beams to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells. Since it is not always possible to remove all the cancerous cells, especially in the lymph nodes, radiatiion therapy is used to kill as many cancer cells as possible. It is a generally a painless treatment and is given in an outpatient setting without the need for hospitalization.

Systemic Therapy For Treating Breast Cancer

A systemic therapy is incorporated to treat the potential and actual risk of cancer cells spreading elsewhere. This systemic therapy is called chemotherapy, and utilizes drugs to kill cancer cells.

What Happens After the Breast Cancer Surgery?

After surgery the presence or absence of cancer in the lymph nodes plays an important role in determining further treatment. If the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the risk of the cancer recurring is much higher and the addition of chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy is usually indicated.
Chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, used in addition to surgery, is known as adjuvant systemic therapy. The purpose of this therapy is to eradicate microscopic deposits of breast cancer cells which still may be present in other areas of the body.
Chemotherapy in adjuvant breast cancer treatment usually involves using a combination of drugs, typically, cyclophosphamide (CYTOXAN or NEOSAR), methotrexate, and 5-flourouracil (CMF), or cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (ADRIAMYCIN, RUBEX) and 5-flourouracil. Currently, six cycles of chemotherapy which encompasses about six months of therapy is standard.
Breast cancer tissue is also tested for estrogen and progesterone receptors, or the so-called hormone receptors. The hormones have a role in promoting the growth of cancerous cells. If these hormone receptors are present, the use of an anti-estrogenic agent called tamoxifen can be used. In older, post-menopausal women it can decrease the risk of recurrent breast cancer similar to the decrease seen with the use of chemotherapy.


Fighting Breast Cancer

There are a few important things which will go a long way in fighting breast cancer. • The best chance of eliminating breast cancer is prevention.
• Women themselves can do a lot by doing breast self examination and thereby detecting any suspicious growth at the earliest.
• Early diagnosis of breast cancer can be achieved with routine mammography and early biopsy of suspicious lesions.
• The earlier a breast cancer is found, the better the chances of a cure.
• The more the community is educated about breast cancer issues, the better chance we have of this deadly disease.

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