Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
Treatment options include:
Surgery – Surgery is generally the first option for treatment. There are 3 general types of breast surgery.
Lumpectomy – This is when the tumor and surrounding tissue in the breast is removed.
Mastectomy – The breast, and all breast tissue is removed during a mastectomy.
Nipple Sparing Mastectomy – A mastectomy, or removal of all of the breast tissue, without removal of any of the skin or the nipple or the dark skin around it called the areola.
Lymph Node Removal – Often lymph nodes under a patient’s arm will be removed depending on the involvement of the cancer.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (Chemo) uses medications to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body. Chemo is a systemic therapy and affects the whole body by moving through the bloodstream.
Radiation Treatments – A special high-energy beam is used to damage cancer cells.
Hyperthermia Therapy – An energy source, such as ultrasound or microwave to heat cancer cells is used. Cancer cells are heated up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hormonal Therapy – Hormone receptor positive breast cancers are treated by lowering the amount of the hormone estrogen in the body, or by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells.
Target Specific Therapy – These therapies target specific characteristics of cancer cells. Target specific therapies are less likely to harm normal, healthy cells.
Holistic Therapy – The patient is treated in whole by focusing on not just the physical, but also the mental and emotional stress of the patient.
Clinical Trials – There are often research projects which are looking at new treatments or procedures.
The advances in the treatment of breast cancer this past 10 years brings significant hope to patients. There are many treatment options, and often times more than one treatment is used.
Treatment plans are designed around the type of cancer, the stage a patient’s cancer is at, and the patient’s choice.
Many treatments do carry significant and/or serious side effects.
Types of Procedures
In Office Procedures
All in-office procedures are done under local anesthesia and most women can return to work the next day and resume normal activity. These procedures are considered non-surgical and are minimally invasive. All biopsies are sent to pathology for accurate diagnosis with results usually within 48 hours.
Breast cancer surgeries are done under general anesthesia and usually require two to three hours. Types of breast cancer surgery include:
- Partial or segmental mastectomy
- Simple or total mastectomy
- Radical mastectomy
- Modified radical mastectomy