Once you have been diagnosed with breast cancer you want to be sure to look at all the different treatments that could work for you. Your doctor will discuss the path that he or she thinks you should take for your fastest road to recovery and defeating this disease. You may or may not understand what exactly these treatments entail so here we will look a little closer at the different options that have been used.
The first plan of attack is usually surgery. There are several different types of surgery that can be performed depending on how aggressive your cancer is. First is the Lumpectomy. This surgery removes only the tumor and a small portion of the tissue surrounding it. This surgery is used whenever possible to help conserve the breast. Second, is the Mastectomy, which involves removing all the tissue from the breast. Another surgery is lymph node removal which can take place during a lumpectomy or mastectomy. This is used if the biopsy showed that the cancer has spread outside the milk duct.
Chemotherapy is another form of treatment. It is systematic which means it affects the whole body by traveling through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy works to rid any and all cancer cells from the entire body that may have spread. Chemotherapy interferes with the rapidly dividing cancer cells preventing them from multiplying. The down side of Chemotherapy is that is does come with side effects. Your body has other healthy cells that can be affected during the use of chemotherapy including those involving your hair follicles, nails, mouth, blood and intestinal tract. People that undergo Chemotherapy may have different side effects. Some may be mild, were it may affect others more. The most common side effects are hair loss and nausea. But you should know that once your Chemotherapy treatments are finished the side effects usually fade and no lingering problems should remain.
Radiation therapy uses a special high-energy beam to damage cancer cells. These high-energy beams damage a cell’s DNA, the material that cells use to divide. This will damage normal cells as well as cancer cells but since the cancerous cells are more active growing and multiplying, radiation is a very useful method to prevent this from happening. The normal cells are stronger and can survive the treatment by repairing themselves.
Hormonal therapy, like chemotherapy, is a type of systemic or whole body medicine used to lower the risk of a hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer from coming back. It also prevents new hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer from developing. The purpose of hormonal therapy is to rid the entire body of cancer cells that might be left behind after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Different hormonal therapies reduce the effect that estrogen has on the body that way it can no longer activate the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer cells. Basically it means taking all the estrogen from the breast that the cancer needs to grow.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer you will probably be faced with a broad range of emotions. You may feel scared, depressed, confused or angry. It is important to find out exactly what procedures your doctor is considering for your line of treatment so you know exactly what to expect. With each method of treatment there will be recovery time and possible side effects so it’s good to know what you will be faced with each step of the way. Breast cancer can be very scary, but be sure to keep a positive attitude, learn all that you can from your doctor and take excellent care of yourself to keep your strength up for your recovery.
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