There are many treatment options that are commonly used in Australia to remove breast cancer. However, it is important to note that the treatment options available vary between patient to patient. What this means is the treatment is determined by several factors on a case by case basis. You may be advised a different course of treatment depending on a number of factors. It is best to seek professional advice before making any decision on the type of treatment you require.
Factors determining treatment for breast cancer
The type of treatment is dependent upon various considerations, such as:
– The type of breast cancer the patient has been diagnosed with
– Whether the patient has already experienced menopause
– The size of the tumour, relative to the size of the breast
– The stage of the cancer which is determined by where the cancer is located, it if has remained in the breast only or if it has spread to other sections of the body
– The gradation of the cancerous cells
– The patient’s age and general health
– The test results of the cancerous cells
Breast cancer treatment options
Initial treatments may include several options, but this is dependent upon the type of cancer and the extent of it. The available treatment options for men are similar and as effective as those for women.
Radiotherapy: involves the use of radiation to kill the cancer cells. This form of treatment is usually offered to females who have undergone breast-conserving surgery. A side effect linked to the treatment process may include skin reddening similar to sunburn. This is a short-term side effect. A long term side effect may cause skin thickening in the area.
Chemotherapy: During this treatment option, patients will be given intravenous cancer-killing medications. This form of therapy may be offered to females as an additional option to radiotherapy, surgery or both. The side effects will depend on the medication type that is being used. It includes hair loss, vomiting and nausea.
Hormone therapy: Several types of breast cancer are influenced by progesterone and oestrogen, the sex hormones. Hormone treatment may reduce the chances of re-occurrence of the disease.
Complementary therapies: If used in combination with conventional treatment options, these therapies may improve your quality of life, but some may not help at all and could be harmful.
Immune or biological therapies: This form of therapy boosts the immune system to aid in the fight against cancer. There are several variations of this type of therapy that is currently being used to treat breast cancer. Research is ongoing in an attempt to find the most effective therapy.
Surgery: Surgery is the preferred option. It involves the removal of the cancerous tumour, including the surrounding tissue and at times, the lymph nodes that are situated close by. The options are:
1) Mastectomy: This involves removing the entire breast, as well as the lymph nodes that are in the armpits. It is often not necessary to undergo radio or chemotherapy.
2) Breast-conserving therapy: This is a small operation where the cancer and some of the tissue around it is removed. Most of the breast remains after this operation.
All forms of surgery come with risks. Side effects may include bleeding, infection, blood clots, arm swelling and nerve damage. It is important to consult your health professional for more information about the side effects of your course of treatment for breast cancer.