Different Cancer Cells Need Different Treatments
There are many different kinds or cancer cells. This is why there is so many different treatment options for breast cancer. Because the cancer cells can be so different, what kills one type of cell might not do anything to another. The best treatment overall involves getting the best out of each special treatment option. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy all work in different ways on their own. But, when put together, they can be extra effective.
Surgery is usually the first line of attack against breast cancer. Your decision on the kind of surgery depends on the stage, or personality, of the cancer. There are many options for surgery, these include:
Mastectomy- Is the removal of all breast tissue. But, the muscles under the breast are left remaining. There are 5 different types of mastectomy. Simple or total, modified radical, radical, partial, and subcutaneous mastectomy.
Lymph node removal- is needed when the cancer has spread outside the milk duct. It can take place during Lumpectomy or Mastectomy.
Breast Reconstruction- is the rebuilding of the breast after Mastectomy or Lumpectomy. This can take place at the same time of the cancer removing surgery, or you can wait until your ready months or years later.
Prophylactic mastectomy- is preventive removal of the breast to lower the risk of breast cancer in high-risk people.
Prophylactic ovary removal- is a preventive surgery that lowers the amount of estrogen in the body, making it harder for estrogen to stimulate the development of breast cancer. Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a highly effective way to destroy cancer cells in the breast that may stick around after surgery. Radiation can reduce the risk of the cancer coming back by 70%. It is relatively easy to tolerate and its side effects are limited to the treated area.
Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy, meaning it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream. The purpose of chemotherapy is to get rid of any cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body. Although, Chemo has many side effects because it interferes with rapidly diving cells. Cancer cells are not the only ones rapidly dividing, blood, mouth, nose nails, and hair cells will also be effected by the Chemo.
Also known as anti-estrogen therapy, is a very effective treatment against breast cancer that is hormone-receptor-positive. Hormonal therapy blocks the ability of the hormone estrogen to turn on and stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.
Hormonal therapy is a type of whole-body medicine used to lower the risk of a cancer from coming back or a new cancer from developing. A systemic treatment goes through the whole body rather than just targeting one organ. The goal of hormonal therapy is to get rid of cancer cells anywhere in the body that might be left behind after initial treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Hormonal therapy can be used:
for non-invasive breast cancer (DCIS) to lower your risk of cancer coming back
after first treatments for breast cancer, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, to lower your risk of cancer coming back or a new cancer developing
for invasive breast cancer, before any other treatment, to shrink a large tumor
for metastatic (advanced) disease
Targeted cancer therapies are treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows the cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way. Targeted therapies are generally less likely than chemotherapy to harm normal, healthy cells. Some targeted therapies are antibodies that work like the antibodies made naturally by our immune systems. These types of targeted therapies are sometimes called immune targeted therapies.
There are currently 3 targeted therapies doctors use to treat breast cancer:
Tykerb Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib) works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking certain proteins that can cause uncontrolled cell growth.
Avastin Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) works by blocking the growth of new blood vessels that cancer cells depend on to grow and function.
Causes and Symptoms
How To Help