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Breast Cancer Treatment Options

breast cancer treatments

Breast cancer is a common type of cancer that affects women of all ages. Fortunately, if the cancer is detected early, treatment is extremely successful and many women go on to live a full and active life. There are several breast cancer treatment options. For the most part, physicians or oncologists will recommend treatment based on the progression of the disease. Some women refuse suggested treatment and opt for natural healing. While some women have been cured of breast cancer using natural treatments, this is not always effective, especially during the advanced stages. Hence, it is wise for patients to adhere to the advice of their doctor, and select more effective breast cancer treatments.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Undergoing surgery to remove the cancer from the breast is the most effective breast cancer treatment. There are three different types of breast cancer surgery. Two options are intended to conserve the breast. These include:

Lumpectomy: Procedure to remove the cancerous lump or tumor from the breast. Surrounding tissue may also be removed to examine for the presence of cancer cells. Lymph nodes under the arm are removed.

Partial Mastectomy: Procedure to remove a small portion of the breast containing cancerous cells and surrounding tissues. This surgery also removes lymph nodes under the arm.

Total Mastectomy: If the cancer is advance, and has spread throughout the breast, removal of the entire breast is necessary. Likewise, lymph nodes under the arm are removed.

Even if breast cancer surgery is effective with removing cancerous cells, oncologists may recommend additional treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy, to kill microscopic cancer cells and prevent the growth of new malignant cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is a breast cancer treatment that utilizes high-energy x-rays to destroy malignant cells. If radiation therapy is suggested, patients have two options: external radiation or internal therapy. With external radiation a machine emits radiation to the cancerous cells from outside the body, whereas internal radiation transmits radiation into the body using needles or tubes.


Chemotherapy is another effective breast cancer treatment that employs a range of drugs to halt the development and growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy serves a multiple purpose. The drug will destroy malignant cells and prevent cancerous cells from spreading. Chemotherapy can be administered by mouth or through injection. In both cases, the drug reaches the cancer through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy may also be injected directly into an organ

Hormone Therapy

A breast cancer treatment that removes hormones and prevents the growth of new cancer cells is called hormone therapy. Because certain hormones can cause breast cancers, blocking the cancer-causing hormone has become an effective treatment. The most common hormone therapy is tamoxifen. For the most part, hormone therapy is administered to patients in the early stages of breast cancer. If the cancer has advanced, hormone therapy may be ineffective.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to hormone therapy. Women who opt for hormone therapy have an increased chance of developing endometrial cancer. Therefore, it is vital for women employing this type of breast cancer treatment to obtain pelvic examinations and pap smears on an annual basis. A common sign of endometrial cancer is unusual vaginal bleeding.

Published: 2006-05-09
Author: Valencia Higuera

About the author or the publisher
Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Va. The Old Dominion University graduate has a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and journalism. Writing credits include non-fiction articles for print and online publications.

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