Breast Cancer Treatment Options: Getting Rid of the Disease
Jeffrey H. Dover
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 209,000 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Those incidences will be diagnosed in an array of stages and classifications. Despite all the possible differences between one breast cancer case and the next, many patients will undergo the same courses of treatment to battle the disease. The type and stage of your breast cancer typically dictate what treatment options may offer you the best prognosis. There are several commonly used courses of treatment for breast cancer, and many are often recommended in conjunction with other methods.
Some of the most frequently recommended treatments are:
• Surgery - Surgical procedures frequently are recommended for breast cancers, except those at stages IIIc or IV. Of the many procedures available, surgeries usually fall into one of two categories: breast-sparing surgeries or mastectomies.
• Radiation therapy - This is a treatment method in which cancerous cells are killed by high-power energy beams. This type of therapy usually is performed after surgery has been successfully completed.
• Chemotherapy - A course of treatment which utilizes certain drugs that can kill cancerous cells or keep them from dividing. Doctors may recommend this treatment if the possibility of a recurrence is high. Just like radiation therapy, chemotherapy is often used after surgery.
• Hormonal therapy – This treatment takes advantage of the fact that many breast cancers are stimulated by the body’s natural hormones. Among other things, this form of treatment can keep hormones from attaching to cancer cells.
• Targeted drugs - The use of targeted drugs as a course of treatment is done to attack specific abnormalities within cancerous cells. By blocking necessary proteins or blood vessel signals, targeted drug therapy can be an effective tool in the fight against breast cancer.
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