Role Of The Physician
The traditional patriarchal role of the physician has changed vastly in the past 50 or so years. Where doctors were once prescriptive, they are now considered equal partners in your care. When it comes to decisions, however, those are entirely yours.
Within this context, the role of your doctor is to provide you full disclosure of your condition and treatment options in a language you understand. The disclosure should be made without prejudice and coercion. This includes direct coercion or subtle coercion .
Cancer Research And The Scientific Method: How To Evaluate Alternative Treatments For Breast Cancer
When considering your treatment options, its important to understand that cancer researchers and doctors conduct their work within the rigorous framework of the scientific method. They systematically add to our knowledge of various types of cancer cells and how those cells respond to treatment by conducting carefully controlled experiments. At each stage of the process, they thoroughly document their methods and their results so other researchers at other institutions can copy, or replicate, the studies to verify or dispute the findings. The most promising results are published in peer-reviewed journals.
No matter who your provider is, you should ask for scientific evidence behind any strategies they suggest:
- Can they share published scientific studies that explain the effectiveness of the treatment?
- Were those studies conducted on animals, on breast cancer cells in the lab, or on humans in clinical trials?
- Are the treatments they provide approved by the FDA? If not, why not?
- Are the treatments they provide listed in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology? If not, why not?
Considering Complementary And Alternative Methods
You may hear about alternative or complementary methods that your doctor hasnt mentioned to treat your cancer or relieve symptoms. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.
Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of a doctors medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping you feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be harmful.
Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known about the method, which can help you make an informed decision.
Although drug combinations are often used to treat early breast cancer, advanced breast cancer more often is treated with single chemo drugs. Still, some combinations, such as paclitaxel plus gemcitabine, are commonly used to treat advanced breast cancer.
For cancers that are HER2-positive, one or more drugs that target HER2 may be used with chemo.
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Patient Population And Methods Of Observation
Details of the organizational and legal framework of this non-interventional study , the selection criteria for inclusion in the observation procedure, and the scope of the documentation have been described previously . In general, patients were treated and their disease course was assessed according to routine practice at the treating institution. Findings were prospectively documented on standardized case report forms. Data on treatment toxicity were mainly collected throughout the duration of adjuvant therapy, i.e. up to 12 months. The study started in 2006 and database lock for the analyses presented here was October 2013.
Considerations When Choosing A Cam Therapy Approach
When choosing a CAM therapy, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests that you:
- Find out what reliable scientific studies have been done on its safety and effectiveness
- Discuss the information with your healthcare providers before making a decision
- Choose a complementary health practitioner as carefully as you would choose a conventional healthcare provider
- Find out about potential side affects or interactions with medications before using any dietary supplement or herbal product
- Not use CAM therapy to postpone seeing your doctor about your health condition
- Tell all your healthcare providers about all the health approaches you plan to use to help ensure coordinated and safe care
This article offers information on recent research and results of preclinical or clinical trials on the most common CAM treatments for breast cancer patients.
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What Is The Prognosis After Recurrence
Many patients with a recurrence of breast cancer can be successfully treated, often with methods other than radiation if radiation was used in the initial treatment. For patients treated initially for invasive breast cancer, five percent to 10 percent will be found to have distant metastases at the time of discovery of the breast recurrence. The same proportion will have recurrences that are too extensive to be operated on. While in these cases the patient’s disease can often be managed over a period of years, the goals of treatment change from obtaining a cure to preventing further progression or managing symptoms. Five-year cure rates for patients with relapse after breast conservation therapy are approximately 60 percent to 75 percent if the relapse is confined to the breast and a mastectomy is then performed.
For patients treated initially for DCIS, about one-half of recurrences are invasive and one-half noninvasive DCIS. Long-term control rates following recurrence after initial breast conservation therapy have been high, often over 90 percent.
What Are Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy
There are usually no immediate side effects from each radiation treatment given to the breast. Patients do not develop nausea or hair loss on the head from radiation therapy to the breast.
Most patients develop mild fatigue that builds up gradually over the course of therapy. This slowly goes away one to two months following the radiation therapy. Most patients develop dull aches or sharp shooting pains in the breast that may last for a few seconds or minutes. It is rare for patients to need any medication for this. The most common side effect needing attention is skin reaction. Most patients develop reddening, dryness anditching of the skin after a few weeks. Some patients develop substantial irritation.
Skin care recommendations include:
- Keeping the skin clean using gentle soap and warm but not hot water
- Avoiding extreme temperatures while bathing
- Avoiding trauma to the skin and sun exposure
- Avoiding shaving the treatment area with a razor blade
- Avoiding use of perfumes, cosmetics, after-shave or deodorants in the treatment area
- Using only recommended unscented creams or lotions after daily treatment
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What Are The Cosmetic Results Of Breast Conservation Therapy
Eighty percent to 90 percent of women treated with modern surgery and radiotherapy techniques have excellent or good cosmetic results that is, little or no change in the treated breast in size, shape, texture or appearance compared with what it was like before treatment.
Patients with large breasts seem to have greater shrinkage of the breast after radiation therapy than do patients with smaller breasts. However, this problem usually can be overcome with the use of higher x-ray energies or with IMRT. Partial breast radiation using brachytherapy can also be considered if the patient has a small early-stage tumor. This treatment is still undergoing clinical investigation. Certain single institution studies on brachytherapy and intraoperative radiation have shown some promising results. You would need to discuss this with your doctor before or shortly after surgery to determine if you qualify for partial breast radiation.
If Cancer Is Found Tests Are Done To Study The Cancer Cells
- how quickly the cancer may grow.
- how likely it is that the cancer will spread through the body.
- how well certain treatments might work.
- how likely the cancer is to recur .
Tests include the following:
Based on these tests, breast cancer is described as one of the following types:
This information helps the doctor decide which treatments will work best for your cancer.
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How To Choose A Complementary Therapy
Theres lots of different types of complementary therapies. Finding the right one for you will depend on your personal choice and you might try a couple before you find one you like.
You may want to look at the types of therapies that are available locally, how they work and what you feel may be helpful for you. You may also want to think about how comfortable you are with the way a therapy is given. For example, some therapies will require several appointments, and some may mean you will need to be partly undressed. However, a good complementary therapist will do their best to put you at ease.
Most Common Symptoms Of Invasive Breast Cancer
- A breast lump
- Lump or swelling in the armpit
- Mysterious change in the shape or size of the breast
- Nipple discharge thats not breast milk
- Peeling on nipple or breast
- Red, pitted skin over the whole breast
- Scaling on nipple or breast
- Swelling in parts of or the entirety of the breast
Breast cancer patients are usually women, although on rare occasions men can also contract breast cancer. Most forms of breast cancer are found as a lump or breast tumor that can be felt within the breast. In conventional treatments, these are removed in surgery, likely with a mastectomy . Luckily, unlike other forms of cancer, breast cancer can be easily detected and treated in the early stages.
- Triple-negative breast cancer
- Tubular carcinoma
Adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of breast cancer and is found in the glands of ducts and lobules.
Paget disease of the nipple: This is a rare cancer that forms in the ducts of the breast and spreads to the areola and the skin of the nipple.
Inflammatory breast cancer: This is an invasive form of cancer. Its found in only a small percentage of breast cancer patients
Angiosarcoma: Another rare type of breast cancer, this cancer arises in the cells that line blood vessels or lymph nodes.
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Possible Side Effects Of Chemo For Breast Cancer
Chemo drugs can cause side effects, depending on the type and dose of drugs given, and the length of treatment. Some of the most common possible side effects include:
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes and/or vaginal dryness from menopause caused by chemo
- Nerve damage
Chemo can also affect the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, which can lead to:
- Increased chance of infections
- Easy bruising or bleeding
These side effects usually go away after treatment is finished. There are often ways to lessen these side effects. For example, drugs can be given to help prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting.
Other side effects are also possible. Some of these are more common with certain chemo drugs. Ask your cancer care team about the possible side effects of the specific drugs you are getting.
What Is The Difference Between Traditional And Alternative Treatment For Breast Cancer
Traditional and conventional cancer treatments include only three options chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. The problem with chemo, radiation, and surgery is that these conventional medicine approaches can cause more harm than good. While they have proven to be effective, their side effects can be more damaging than the cancer itself. Before starting chemo or committing to surgery after a cancer diagnosis, its highly suggested for every breast cancer patient to learn about the other complementary medicine practices available.
When it comes to alternative targeted therapy, breast cancer patients have several options.
Natural treatment for breast cancer refers to several treatments that are not part of conventional medicine. They can be used on their own or in combination with conventional treatments as targeted therapy. Alternative cancer treatment works to enhance your bodys immune system, instead of only flushing your body with chemicals or treating cancer through surgical strategies. Complementary therapy can either assist conventional treatment or serve as the sole medical treatment.
If youre interested in learning how to cure breast cancer without surgery, you might want to study alternative treatments. Many people often question whether alternative breast cancer treatments work. Well at ITC we have seen first hand how alternative medicine works to build up the immune system and kill breast cancer cells.
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Menstrual Changes And Fertility Issues
For younger women, changes in menstrual periods are a common side effect of chemo. Premature menopause and infertility may occur and could be permanent. If this happens, there is an increased risk of heart disease, bone loss, and osteoporosis. There are medicines that can treat or help prevent bone loss.
Even if your periods stop while you are on chemo, you may still be able to get pregnant. Getting pregnant while on chemo could lead to birth defects and interfere with treatment. If you have not gone through menopause before treatment and are sexually active, its important to discuss using birth control with your doctor. It is not a good idea for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to take hormonal birth control , so its important to talk with both your oncologist and your gynecologist about what options would be best for you. When women have finished treatment , they can safely go on to have children, but it’s not safe to get pregnant while being treated.
If you think you might want to have children after being treated for breast cancer, talk with your doctor soon after being diagnosed and before you start treatment. For some women, adding medicines, like monthly injections with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analog, along with chemo, can help them have a successful pregnancy after cancer treatment. To learn more, see Female Fertility and Cancer.
Making An Informed Choice
Most people have encountered one aspect of informed consent, namely the signing of a medical consent form prior to a medical procedure or hospitalization. But informed consent is about more than just signing a document. It involves discussing the potentials risks and benefits of a recommended treatment, as well as the risks and benefits of receiving no treatment.
If, after a reasonable review of the pros and cons, you are not certain whether you want to pursue a treatment, there are several things you should do:
If you do decide to stop or refuse treatment, it is best to inform your doctor in advance.
In many cases, the oncologist will ask you to sign an informed consent document confirming your decision. This not only protects the doctor legally, but it asserts that you fully understand and accept the implications of your choice.
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Are There Ways To Prevent Hair Loss With Chemotherapy
Not everyone loses hair when receiving chemotherapy, but many people do. Some peoples hair only thins. Others lose the majority or all of their hair.
Using a cold cap can reduce hair loss. Cold caps cool your scalp before, during and after chemotherapy treatment. Cooling tightens the blood vessels in your scalp, potentially reducing how much chemotherapy goes to your hair follicles.
People may choose to wear a wig as a result of hair loss. Some private insurance companies may help cover wig costs if your doctor prescribes a cranial prosthesis or hair prosthesis. Medicare Parts A and B do not cover wigs, but the costs may be tax-deductible.
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Who Is A Candidate For Targeted Therapy
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a particular targeted therapy, they define the specific circumstances when it can be used. They also define who is a good fit for treatment. In general, targeted therapies are used to treat people who have a particular mutation that the treatment can detect. They work to destroy or inhibit the cancerous cells of that mutation. Targeted therapy may also be an option for people whose cancer did not respond to other therapies, has spread, or is not suitable for surgery.
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Can Breast Cancer Be Treated Without Surgery Md Anderson Wants To Find Out
For decades, nearly 100% of breast cancer patients have been treated with surgery, but now clinicians are charting new territory and investigating ways to “de-escalate” breast cancer treatment, Lucette Lagnado reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Here’s What Our Expert Has To Say About Breast Cancer Treatment
Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti | Published : October 31, 2017 5:14 PM IST
Just like diabetes and heart disease, most types of cancer can be treated with medications. But does this hold true for breast cancer? Well, the answer to this is NO. Yes, breast cancer cannot be treated with just medications. Dr Pawan Gupta, Additional Director, Surgical Oncology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida explains why and how it can be treated.
In general, the treatment modalities for breast cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal therapy and targetted therapy. The treatment option for breast cancer mostly depends upon the stage and type of cancer. For example, if you have stage 1 breast cancer, then surgery is the most preferred treatment option. However, for stage 2 and 3 breast cancer, surgery along with chemotherapy or radiation might be advised. Here is a detailed explanation of the four different stages and treatment of breast cancer.
Can breast cancer be treated without surgery?
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Cam Treatment : Biofeedback
Biofeedback training is used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. During biofeedback, youre hooked up to electrical sensors that monitor subtle changes in your body.
This method may help you gain conscious power over your body so that you can control actions that are normally autonomic, or involuntary. These functions include:
- muscle tension
- blood pressure
Your doctor will determine which type of biofeedback technique is best to treat your symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Resperate is the only biofeedback device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So be careful of machines marketed for at-home use. Some may be fraudulent and can cause damage.
- hormone therapy
- targeted therapy
Surgery and radiation therapy are considered local therapies because they treat cancer cells without affecting the rest of your body. Local therapies are most effective in the earlier stages of breast cancer.
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy are known as systemic therapies. Systemic therapies use drugs to treat breast cancer. Those drugs enter your bloodstream by either oral use or injection and reach tumors that have spread throughout your body. Systemic therapies are more effective in advanced stages of breast cancer.
Some breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, may cause side effects that last months or even years after therapy has ended. Some treatment plans may require multiple remedies at once, or one after the other.