How Can Breast Cancer be Treated?
Breast cancer is prevalent in women. Age and being a woman are the key causes of the disease. The behavior and activity of breast cancer will significantly impact how it is treated. Some breast tumors may be small but will proliferate while others can be large and progress slowly.
If detected early, breast cancer can be treated successfully before it metastasizes, and the patient’s survival rate will improve. When the disease has already spread, it is difficult to treat. However, some treatment options can be used to control it for years.
- The tumor subtype and hormone receptor status, including the HER2, PR, and ER status.
- The stage of the cancer
- The age, health status and preferences of the patient
- The presence of mutations in the breast cancer genes
- The genomic markers, e.g., BRCA1 or BRCA2
Surgery is often recommended for locally advanced and early-stage breast cancer. This helps to remove the tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
For advanced cancer that spread quickly, a systemic treatment (neoadjuvant therapy) is administered. It includes hormonal therapy or chemotherapy before surgery. This helps to improve the outcomes for patients. For example:
- Patients scheduled for a mastectomy can undergo breast-conserving surgery if the tumor shrinks before surgery.
- It will be easy for the doctors to perform surgery on a smaller tumor
- Doctors may discover treatments that will work well for the patient’s condition
- Patients may benefit from clinical trials
When surgery is no longer viable, oncologists may recommend other ways of treatment, including radiation therapy, targeted therapy, hormonal therapy, or chemotherapy. Therapy for the recurrent disease will depend mainly on the cancer biology and the way it was first treated.
A patient’s breast cancer care plan involves treating the disease, its symptoms, and side effects.