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Breast cancer refers to the development of a malignant tumor within the cells of the breast. It is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Since the discovery of breast cancer, researchers have been working tirelessly to find effective treatments and solutions to fight this deadly disease. Here are some of the different treatments and solutions available for breast cancer, how they work, and their effectiveness.
Surgery is often the first option for treating breast cancer. This involves removing the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. Based on the tumor's size and location, one of two surgical procedures may be conducted. A lumpectomy removes only the tumor and a small surrounding area, while a mastectomy removes the entire breast. The effectiveness of surgery depends on the stage of the cancer; for early-stage breast cancer, surgery alone may be enough to prevent recurrence. For more advanced stages, surgery may be followed by radiation or chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles or waves to eliminate cancer cells. This may be given before or after surgery to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back. The treatment is usually given on an outpatient basis, with each session lasting only a few minutes. Radiation therapy may be employed in conjunction with other treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy, based on the stage of the patient's cancer and their overall health.
Chemotherapy is a therapeutic approach that employs medication to eliminate cancer cells. The drugs are usually given intravenously but can also be taken orally. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles, with the patient receiving treatment for a few weeks followed by a rest period. The success of chemotherapy relies on various factors, including the cancer's type and stage, the patient's age and overall health, and the specific medications employed. While chemotherapy can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, it is still a vital tool in the fight against breast cancer.
Hormone therapy functions by reducing the estrogen levels in the body, thereby impeding or halting the progression of specific forms of breast cancer. This treatment is most effective for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Hormone therapy can be given orally or through injection and is usually taken for several years. Potential adverse effects may encompass hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and alterations in mood.
Targeted therapy refers to a specialized form of chemotherapy that directly focuses on specific proteins found in cancer cells. This approach can be used in conjunction with other treatments, including chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Targeted therapy can cause side effects similar to chemotherapy, such as fatigue and nausea. However, because it targets specific proteins in cancer cells, it may be more effective than traditional chemotherapy at killing cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
For more information about breast cancer treatment options, contact a medical professional in your area.