Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Various Breast Cancer Treatments

There are various methods in treating breast cancer; here are some of the most common and popular treatments available.

1.) Surgery – Most woman will have surgery with our without radiation and there are two primary surgical options available. Mastectomy, where in the entire breast is removed and a less extensive procedure called lumpectomy where the surgeon removes only the lump surrounding the normal tissues. The piece of tissue removed during the lumpectomy is then closely examined to determine whether its margins are free from cancer cells.

2.) Radiation therapy – Usually taken after a lumpectomy to eradicate any more cancer cells that may remain in the affected breast or nearby lymph nodes. Radiation is delivered to the whole breast once a day, five days a week for about six weeks.

3.) Chemotherapy – Women who have the harder to treat ER-negative breast tumors will benefit more from chemotherapy compared to women who has ER-positive tumors. Chemotherapy regimens that incorporate more drugs, higher doses and more frequent admission produced dramatic improvements on the women cancer patients.

4.) Hormonal therapy – A hormonal therapy such as tamoxifen are very effective and is typically given for five years after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. Tamoxifen therapy is associated with a higher rate of blood clots and uterine cancer.

5.) Targeted drugs – Trastuzumab is highly effective in treating breast tumors that produce too much HER2, a protein that spurs the growth of cancer cells. Only 20 to 30 recent of the women have HER2-positive tumors and are thus potential candidates for this therapy.



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