Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment
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ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
This section explains the types of treatments that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are strongly encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors want to learn whether the new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less treatment than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option to consider for treatment and care for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.
Myth #: If An Earlier
Ninety percent of MBC diagnoses occur in people who have already been treated for an earlier-stage breast cancer. Many people are under the impression that remaining cancer-free for 5 years means that a metastatic recurrence cant happen. However, distant recurrences can occur several years or even decades after initial diagnosis. Factors such as original tumor size and the number of lymph nodes involved can help predict the risk of recurrence.
For example, a 2017 survey of 88 studies involving nearly 63,000 women diagnosed with early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer found that the risk of distant recurrence within 20 years ranged from 13% to 41%, depending on tumor size and lymph node involvement.1
As KatyK of Idaho comments: that you are cured if you are cancer-free 5 years after initial diagnosis. I fell for that one myself. When I was diagnosed with MBC 12 years after initial diagnosis I was shocked. I thought I was cured, which to me means all better. Nope! Not even sure medically what cured means.
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Treatment For Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Doctors can offer a variety of for stage 1 breast cancer, although surgery is the primary treatment.
A lumpectomy or mastectomy are both viable surgical options for people with stage 1 breast cancer. A doctor will decide what surgery is most appropriate depending on the location of the primary tumor, how large it is, the size of the breast, family history, genetics, and the persons preference.
The doctor may also carry out a biopsy on one or more lymph nodes.
After removing the tissue, they will send it to a laboratory for further tests. The results will help inform decisions on the next stage of treatment.
Radiation therapy is a standard treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. However, the decision will depend on factors such the age of the person, the type of cancer, the size of the tumor, and whether there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
If the breast cancer is ER+ or PR+, hormone therapy may be effective. Hormone therapy works by preventing the growth of estrogen, which helps cancer grow, by blocking estrogen from attaching to tissue and fuelling cancer growth, or both.
Hormone therapy can reach cancer cells in the breast, as well as other areas of the body, and it can reduce the risk of cancer returning.
also has subcategories known as 2A and 2B.
Stage 2A breast cancer is invasive cancer:
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Standard Approach To Cancer Treatment
Since cancer isnt just one event but a category for seemingly endless variations, each type of cancer and the severity at which its found will inspire different types of treatment.
Surgery is usually a consideration, given as an option as early as when cancer is merely a risk and not a diagnosis until advanced stages that require extensive removal. Sometimes, the tumors or lesions are successfully removed and thats that. Others are not so simple. In some cases, like bone marrow cancer, surgery is rarely, if ever, an option.
The next most common response to cancer in mainstream medicine is to introduce chemotherapy or radiation sometimes both. This is usually a much more difficult decision to make, as conventional treatment side effects can be extensive.
The idea behind chemotherapy and radiation treatments is to attack the cancer cells quickly and dramatically with substances that will kill or neutralize the cancer cells. But it isnt a localized attack. Both chemotherapy and radiation affect whole regions of the body, sometimes the whole body, without any differentiation between cancer cells and healthy cells. So alongside whatever damage is inflicted on cancer cells comes a potential laundry list of side effects. Some will never go away some will prove deadly.
Nutritions Key Role In Beating Cancer
Your body, right now, is executing hundreds of functions, and most if not all of them are dependent upon nutrient stores and nutrient input. Everything we breathe and eat is metabolized broken down and turned into energy that each cell can access and process. With cancer cells metabolizing energy poorly, natural cancer protocols often center around flooding the body with nutrients. Another aspect of an effective cancer diet is to exclude foods that further weaken cells and disrupt the microbe balance in the body.
Cancer diets come in all shapes and sizes, with a number of protocols for various needs. Finding an adequate cancer diet is an ongoing study with constant revelations and revisions to improve efficacy against each kind of cancer and stage. There are some unifying principles that all of them follow, though, because we know there are certain things that feed cancer cells and certain things that help the body overcome it.
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How To Beat Breast Cancer
Elisa Port, MD, chief of breast surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, director of the Dubin Breast Center and an associate professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Her research interests include sentinel lymph node biopsies, the use of MRIs in high-risk patients and the use of PET scanning for breast cancer. She is author of The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Optionsand Remain Optimisticin an Age of Information Overload.
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Choosing The Best Oncologist For My Breast Cancer Treatment
At this point, it was mid March I had seen and talked to eight specialists in total, had enough opinions and my decision had to be taken. My cancer was too aggressive to delay the decision any longer.
I had to choose between two extremely different options:
- Standard treatment with hormones with which I could supposedly continue my life normally for an unknown period of time or
- Multi agent Chemo treatments, which would require me to relocate from LA and to Houston for about 6 months or more. That basically meant stopping my life and expecting hair loss along with other horrible side effects we all know chemo causes, especially aggressive treatment for six months.
Then I started thinking about the quality of life I was going to have if I chose to do the standard treatment recommended by the three oncologists in LA. Supposedly I could continue my normal life as long as the treatment works, but would be going in and out of hospitals and clinics several times a month to do all kinds of tests and alter medications when they stop working. Besides I was told I might get some side effects.
Basically I would be living in fear wondering what is going on with my body. Is it working? Are they shrinking or are they not responding? Besides the side effects that go along with it.
The decision was made.
I can tell you it was the best decision I have ever made.
The breast mass started shrinking very quickly after starting chemotherapy therefore no surgery was needed.
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How Is Breast Cancer Recurrence Managed Or Treated
Your treatment depends on the type of cancer recurrence, as well as past treatments. If cancer develops in a reconstructed breast, your surgeon may want to remove the breast implant or skin flap.
Treatments for local and regional breast cancer recurrence may include:
- Mastectomy: Your surgeon removes the affected breast and sometimes lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy circulates in blood, killing cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy:Tamoxifen and other hormone therapies treat cancers that thrive on estrogen .
- Immunotherapy:Immunotherapy engages your bodys immune system to fight cancer.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy X-ray beams damage and destroy cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: Treatments target specific cancer cell genes or proteins.
Cancer Doesn’t Have To Scare You Out Of Enjoying Life
Try not to analyze too much or think about the past and what might have caused your cancer, as that is futile now. At first, its bewildering and theres a lot to learn in a short time, but just take it one step at a time.
There are a lot of stages to go through before you start to realize that life can be good. I know that from where you are right now that might seem strange, but for me, having stage IV cancer with extensive bone mets has focused my mind to what really matters in life.
Don’t blame yourself. You did nothing wrong. This is just rotten bad luck.
Learn to be selfish. And by that I mean learn to put yourself first. A lot of women go through life making themselves their last priority. For me, getting sick has taught me that I was there for everyone but myself and that had to change.
Take it one day at a time. Don’t look at the future, just take your tablets, turn up for appointments, and between those times find things that make you happy and concentrate on those.
Live in the moment. Each moment is a gift. Appreciate what you have. Don’t focus on what you’ve lost.
This is a lot to process but, believe me you will find that having cancer, frightening as the diagnosis is, doesn’t have to scare you out of enjoying life. Leapfrog
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Stop To Smell The Roses
I mostly consider myself a thriver. says Terlisa Sheppard, an author and patient advocate from Orlando, FL. Shes had MBC since 2001, with metastasis to her bones, lungs, liver, spine, abdomen, and brain. I am still waging forward, making the best out of each day. Her secret:
I just focus on living in the moment to my best potential, she says. I do stop to take random pictures of flowers or objects that might be in my path. I love going to the beach to watch the mesmerizing sunrises or sunsets. I laugh often and enjoy meeting and chatting with new people, especially cancer survivors that I can possibly offer hope to in their journey.
Tips For Breast Cancer Patients During Treatment
SEATTLE â Oct. 15, 2010 â Throughout October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, experts from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and its clinical care partner, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, are offering a series of weekly research-based tip sheets regarding a variety of topics related to breast cancer, including breast cancer prevention, screening, and early detection, treatment, and survivorship. The series will conclude next Friday, Oct. 22.
Todayâs tip sheet, the third of four in the series, is â10 Tips for Breast Cancer Patients During Treatmentâ provided by Julie Gralow, M.D., director of Breast Medical Oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and co-author of âBreast Fitnessâ .
10 tips for breast cancer patients during treatment
Additional information can be found at:
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Peaches Apples And Pears
Fruits specifically peaches, apples, and pears have been shown to safeguard against breast cancer.
In a study in 75,929 women, those who consumed at least 2 servings of peaches per week had up to a 41% reduced risk of developing ER breast cancer .
Interestingly, a test-tube study revealed that polyphenol antioxidants from peaches inhibited the growth and spread of a breast cancer cell line .
Furthermore, a study analyzing data from 272,098 women linked apple and pear intake to a lower risk of breast cancer ” rel=”nofollow”> Share on Pinterest
Beans are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Specifically, their high fiber content may protect against breast cancer.
A study in 2,571 women found that high bean intake reduced breast cancer risk by up to 20%, compared with low bean intake .
Additionally, in a study in 1,260 Nigerian women, those with the highest intake of beans had up to a 28% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with those with the lowest intake .
Myth #: People With Metastatic Breast Cancer Look Sick And Lose Their Hair
You dont look sick. You look so well. Why do you still have your hair? Are you sure you have cancer? These are comments that people with MBC report hearing. But there are many treatment options besides chemotherapy, and people often appear well while taking them.
As NancyHB comments: Id much rather be a poster child for how sometimes we can live with, rather than die from, MBC at least for a while. Instead, I find myself defending against people who are increasingly becoming impatient with my lack of cancer-patient appearance. Im grateful for this time of feeling good, and theyre harshing my buzz.
Some people with MBC report that they actually look better than they feel while in treatment. So they sometimes have to let family and friends know that even though they appear fine, they dont feel well.
Shetland Pony notes: If she looks good, she is good. Nope. Many of us suffer from the invisible disability of fatigue. I would venture to say every available treatment causes us some level of fatigue. We struggle to keep up. It may look like we are doing the bare minimum when we are really giving it our all.
JoE777 of Texas adds: The new normals advertised about therapies on TV are deceiving about the side effects. They talk about side effects while women are skipping through life. not looking to show the harsh side effects but think there is something wrong with me that my life is not like that.
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Happiness Will Creep Back In If You Let It
We went home and I mourned myself for 2 weeks and thought hard about a way out of this, but there wasn’t/isn’t. So, I’ve chosen to obsess with diet, exercise, and research. I’ve always eaten well and exercised, or so I thought, but I’m now healthier than ever and have to admit I am happy. I know that sounds strange, but I believe if you are willing, happiness will creep back in if you let it, I promise.
In short, I found obsession with nutrition my thing to occupy myself and it definitely won’t hurt to stay as fit as possible for this SOB called cancer. Thicket
What Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Cancer cells might have traveled through your lymphatic system to your lungs, bones, liver, brain, or other organs.
Stage 4 is the most serious and life threatening stage of breast cancer. Most often, stage 4 breast cancer develops long after a person has first been diagnosed with cancer. In rare cases, the cancer may have progressed to stage 4 at the time a person is first diagnosed.
Facing stage 4 breast cancer can be challenging. But following your doctors recommended treatment plan and practicing healthy lifestyle habits can help to improve your outcome. It may significantly increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life.
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There Is Hope You Are Not A Statistic
I am still in shock myself and shedding many tears. But there is hope. You are not a statistic. Statistics are made up of thousands of cases. You are a unique case of one. I get overwhelmed also, but then I read on the Breastcancer.org Community Discussion Boards how women with stage IV have gone on with their lives, enjoying their families, even travelling. It is not an immediate death sentence, although it can feel like it. Amica
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
With this type of breast cancer, the breast cancer cells dont have ER+ or PR+ receptors. They dont overproduce the HER2 protein, so hormone therapy isnt very effective.
Instead, triple negative stage 4 breast cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be an option, depending on the site of metastasis.
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