Breast cancer management takes different approaches depending on physical and biological characteristics of the disease, as well as the age, over-all health and personal preferences of the patient. Treatment types can be classified into local therapy surgery and radiotherapy and systemic treatment chemo-, endocrine, and targeted therapies. Local therapy is most efficacious in early stage breast cancer, while systemic therapy is generally justified in advanced and metastatic disease, or in diseases with specific phenotypes. Historically, breast cancer was treated with radical surgery alone. Advances in the understanding of the natural course of breast cancer as well as the development of systemic therapies allowed for the use of breast-conserving surgeries, however, the nomenclature of viewing non-surgical management from the viewpoint of the definitive surgery lends to two adjectives connected with treatment timelines: adjuvant after surgery and neoadjuvant before surgery.
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How Breast Cancer Is Treated
8 Things to Know Before Your First Chemo Treatment
Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which certain cells in the breast grow out of control. It occurs when a mutation or abnormal change occurs that upsets how breast cells multiply and divide. There are several different types of breast cancer. Breasts are made up of lobules that produce milk and ducts that carry the milk to the nipples. These lobules and ducts are surrounded by fatty connective tissue. Most types of breast cancer start off in the ducts or the lobules.
Fighting Cancer Without Chemotherapy: 8 Alternatives to Chemo and Radiation
Chemotherapy chemo uses anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously injected into your vein or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Occasionally, chemo may be given directly into the spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Not all women with breast cancer will need chemo, but there are several situations in which chemo may be recommended:.
The main goal of pre-operative neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer is to shrink tumors so women can have a lumpectomy rather than a more invasive mastectomy. It was therefore initially used only on large tumors after being introduced about 25 years ago. But as fewer and fewer women were diagnosed with large breast tumors, pre-op chemo began to be used in patients with smaller cancers, too, in the hope that it would extend survival. But pre-op chemo can, instead, promote metastasis, scientists concluded from experiments in lab mice and human tissue, published in Science Translational Medicine.