Breast cancer treatment
The primary goal of breast cancer treatment is to remove the visible disease.
The first step in treating the disease, then, is usually surgery. The type of surgery will be discussed by the Surgeon with the patient. After the operation and based on some data that will emerge mainly from the histological examination, Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Hormone therapy may be needed.
What does postoperative treatment depend on?
The elements that are taken into account in the choice of postoperative treatment are:
- the size and differentiation of the tumor,
- the presence of hormone receptors,
- the result of the Her2 / neu test
- the general state of health,
- the history of menopause, etc.
Postoperative treatment includes Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy and Hormone Therapy.
It is intended to destroy malignant cells that may have remained in the body after surgery and to prevent the recurrence of the disease.
Radiotherapy is given as an adjunct to "conservative" surgeries, such as tumor resection or partial mastectomy, and in some cases after radical mastectomy when there are specific reasons. In some cases it is also given preoperatively in order to reduce the size of a large tumor. Radiotherapy has some potential side effects that a woman should be aware of and discuss with her Radiotherapist before starting treatment.
These side effects are reduced with the advancement of technology.
Chemotherapy destroys cells that have migrated from the original tumor. It is usually given intravenously in cycles and does not require hospitalization. In some cases, Chemotherapy is given to preoperatively and is called introductory Chemotherapy. There are several drugs that are useful in the treatment of breast cancer and are usually administered in combinations of 2 or 3 drugs. Chemotherapy has several side effects, mainly on the blood, gastrointestinal tract and hair.
These side effects are now largely limited and are generally transient.
If the hormone receptors are positive, Hormone Therapy can be used alone or in combination with Chemotherapy and / or Radiotherapy. Tamoxifen, often called anioestrogen, is usually given for five years. Recently, drugs called aromatase inhibitors have also been used, either in place of Tamoxifen or sequentially. Hormone therapy is usually given orally and has fewer side effects than chemotherapy. However, it can also cause significant side effects in a few cases and therefore requires medical surveillance.
The doctor will recommend after the operation a periodic clinical-laboratory examination program based on some generally accepted specifications and at the same time individualized.
Generalized Breast Cancer
Breast cancer metastases are treated with surgery, Radiotherapy and mainly with Hormone Therapy and Chemotherapy. Much progress has been made in recent years in both Hormone Therapy and Chemotherapy.
Newer therapies such as monoclonal antibodies have also been added to the daily practice. Many other drugs that do not have anti-cancer effects can also be used in combination with Chemotherapy or Hormone Therapy and offer significant help.
Generalized breast cancer can in some cases be considered a chronic disease, the treatment of which is improving every year.