With advancement in research there are many breast cancer treatment options to choose from and the one you are offered depends on certain factors. Scientists have recently claimed that they have discovered a new route to a potential breast cancer cure. Currently there are a combination of treatments available. The main treatments are surgery, hormone therapy, biological (Herceptin), radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These may be given individually or in combination depending on several factors such as:
- the type of breast cancer present
- whether menopause has occurred or not
- the size of the tumor
- the grade of the cancer cells
- the stage of the cancer
- whether particular receptors are present
- the general health of the patient
All these factors will be taken into account by the doctor.
Cancers are given stages and grades to help doctors categorize and assess the tumor and to decide the appropriate treatments to give. Breast cancer stages consider whether the cancer has spread and how much it has grown. The grade means how the cancer cells appear when viewed through a microscope. There are three grades namely, low (grade 1 slow growing), intermediate grade (grade 2) and high grade (grade 3) which is a rapidly growing tumor. These have a higher risk of returning after initial treatment and if surgery has taken place to excise the tumor, a course of chemotherapy will likely be administered to destroy any lingering cancer cells and therefore reduce the risk of it returning. The grades and stages of breast cancer give a general rule of thumb as it is impossible to generalize about how a tumor will behave.
If the cancer has spread beyond the localized breast area and lymph nodes in the armpit then treatment my not include surgery but a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in conjunction with other treatments. The majority of people however start their treatment with surgery and there are different types of surgery that maybe offered depending on the position and size of the tumor. A mastectomy is where the whole breast is removed with a reconstruction possible later on. A lumpectomy is where the tumor itself is removed along with a small amount of surrounding breast tissue. Then course of radiotherapy focused on the breast will likely be offered.
There are many factors to consider when choosing treatment and mostly is is about how the patient feels about their options once a selection of appropriate treatments is offered. There are no correct or incorrect answers to these decisions and each woman feels differently. It can feel overwhelming to have a whole breast removed, so, if possible, a lumpectomy with radiotherapy is preferable for some women. Some feel they do not want radiotherapy but others will choose this if it leads to retaining their breast.
There are different types of breast cancer and different types of cancers altogether. Mesothelioma cancer is a completely different type of cancer and caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma symptoms can be general like chest pain, shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Symptoms of breast cancer however, are more specific and things to look out for include a dimpling of the skin, change in breast shape or size, a thickening or lump in one area of the breast, irregular nipple shape especially if it turns inward like it's being pulled from the inside, a rash on the nipple or area surrounding, nipple discharge (blood-stained), a lump or swelling in the armpit.
There are many breast cancer facts, features, symptoms and breast cancer treatment options to be aware of, but advancing knowledge and research