Breast cancer survival rates have greatly improved because of more effective Breast Cancer Treatment and management programs given to patients. In the past years, breast cancer awareness and prevention campaigns were launched and are actively participated in by millions of women around the world. Breast cancer prevention is an action to educate people about the disease and to lower the chance of getting it. Research scientists have been actively looking at risk and protective factors that lead to the development of cancer. Risk factors are those that increase one’s chance to develop breast cancer, while protective factors are those that decrease the chance of getting the disease.
One of the most talked-about breast cancer treatment is prophylactic mastectomy. Women who are very high risk to develop breast cancer may choose to undergo prophylactic surgery to reduce their risk of getting the disease. These are women who have family members who has breast cancer, those who tested positive from gene testing, or women who present with early signs of breast cancer such a presence of precancerous cells. Studies have shown that prophylactic mastectomy reduces the risk of acquiring breast cancer to 90%.
There are many types and options available for Breast Cancer Treatment and they chosen based on the breast cancer diagnosis and the breast cancer stage of the patient. Currently, there are four standards treatments that are used:
SURGERY – Surgery is the main treatment for breast cancer. Most patients undergo surgery t remove the lump or the entire affected breast. The types of breast cancer surgery are:
I. BREAST CONSERVING SURGERY – this type of surgery aims to conserve the breast by removing only the cancerous lump or tumor. This includes:
a. Lumpectomy – lumpectomy is the removal of a tumor and a small amount of tissue surrounding it.
b. Partial mastectomy – this type of surgery, also called segmental surgery, involves removal of the part of the breast that has cancer and some of the normal tissue around it.
II. OTHER TYPES OF BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
a. Total mastectomy – total mastectomy involves the removal of the entire breast that is affected with cancer. This is also called simple mastectomy.
b. Modified Radical Mastectomy – this involves the removal of the breast that has cancer, the lymph nodes under the arm, some chest muscle lining and sometimes, including part of the chest wall muscles.
c. Radical Mastectomy – this type of surgery includes the removal of the breast that has cancer, all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and the chest wall muscles under the breast. This procedure is also called Halsted Radical Mastectomy.
Other breast cancer treatments include radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery does not remove all cancer cells thus most patients undergo radiation or chemotherapy to kill any cancer cells that are left. This is called adjuvant therapy, where surgery is coupled with another treatment to increase the chances of cure.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment option that uses high-energy x-rays that aims to kill cancer cells. The two types of radiation are:
External Radiation – is a type of radiation therapy that uses a machine that sends radiation toward the cancer
Internal Radiation – is a radiation therapy that uses radioactive substances, which are directly implanted inside the body where the cancer is. These include seeds, wires and catheters placed on the cancerous part of the body.
Chemotherapy is another Breast Cancer Treatment that is often used. This uses drugs to either stop the growth of cancer cells, kill them or stop them from dividing rapidly. Chemotherapy can be given either by mouth or is injected into the vein and through the blood stream, targeting cancer cells throughout the body.