There are many ways breast cancer is treated. Doctor may advise the right treatment plan for each individual patient after determining the spread, stage and type of the disease. There are many factors, which guide the choice of treatment method. There may be need of a treatment method or combinations of more than one treatment method depending on the following factors:

  • Location of the tumor and its spread
  • Type of the tumor and whether the tumor is hormone receptor-positive or negative
  • Tumor markers, such as HER2
  • Gene expression
  • Stage of the breast cancer
  • Size and shape of the tumor
  • Rate of cell division or growth in the tumor
  • Response of tumors to hormone or hormone sensitivity of tumors

Treatment Methods for Breast Cancer

The treatment of breast cancer may also be classified as treatment of early stage and advanced stage of breast cancer. In early stage tumors are confined to the breast. In advanced stage tumors spread beyond the breast to other regions of the body. Treatment options are chosen on the basis of size of tumor, location, physical condition of patient, and stage of cancer.

Breast Cancer treatment may be local or systemic. Local treatments are directed only at the area of disease. For local treatment surgery and radiation therapy is used. Systemic treatments are used to affect the entire body, when the disease has spread outside the breast. Chemotherapy is used for systemic treatment. Most patients are given a combination treatment. In patients of stage I, II, or III of breast cancer, the treatment is directed at treating as well as preventing recurrence of the breast cancer. In stage IV cancer, the treatment aims at improving symptoms and increasing life expectancy of the patient. The treatment methods of breast cancer are as follows-

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used in patients of advanced stages of breast cancer. As the disease has spread outside the breast, systematic chemotherapy proves more useful.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is used to kill cancerous cells and prevent them from growing. It may be used alone or along with surgery or chemotherapy.

Surgery

Surgery is used as a treatment method to remove cancerous cells from the breast. The process of removing a breast lump is known as lumpectomy, whereas removal of entire breast and possible nearby structures is known as mastectomy. Women who have undergone mastectomy may need reconstructive breast surgery. It is done along with or after mastectomy.

Hormonal therapy

It is used as a treatment option for ER-positive breast cancer. It is used to block certain cancer boosting hormones. Hormonal drugs used in this therapy block estrogen, which boosts breast cancer cells survive and grow. Other drugs used for hormonal therapy is aromatase inhibitors. They also block estrogen production.

Biological Therapy

It is comparatively a newer method of treatment for breast cancer. In this therapy special anticancer drugs aiming at blocking cancer boosting changes in a cell, are used. It is used in HER2-positive breast cancer.

All patients who have undergone treatment need to have regular blood tests, mammograms, and other tests after treatment. Patients can also participate in clinical trials done for improving treatment methods to avail experimental treatment therapies.