Treatment for early breast cancer
With proper diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for early breast cancer is extremely good.
If you've been diagnosed with early breast cancer, you may feel overwhelmed and scared. Thankfully effective treatments
exist today that can help. With treatment, the prognosis for early breast cancer is generally excellent.
For many, surgery is the first treatment option. There are two main types of operations for breast cancer. There's breast conserving surgery meaning a lumpectomy.
This means only the tumor with a rim of surrounding normal breast tissues is removed. Then there's a mastectomy in which
the entire breast is removed. In either case, the nearby lymph nodes under your arms may also be removed to find out if they contain cancer.
Usually surgery will not be the only treatment you receive for early breast cancer. After surgery, many patients continue
to get treatment to lower their risk of having breast cancer come back. These are often called systemic therapies,
as they work throughout the body to find and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is one option and destroys cancer
cells that might not even be seen on body scans. There are also hormone therapies which are used to slow or stop the growth of hormone receptor
positive cancers. Hormone therapies may also be given in combination with drugs like CDK4/6 inhibitors, which
come in pill form and interfere with a cancer's ability to grow and progress. A third option is immunotherapy,
which is helpful in the treatment of certain breast cancers. These medications help your immune system find and eradicate breast cancer cells.
However, some patients with early breast cancer may receive treatment prior to surgery. These are called neoadjuvant therapies.
Neoadjuvant treatments often help shrink tumors in the breast and lymph nodes making them easier to remove by surgery.
Now I know this sounds like a lot to take in, and it is. Thankfully, though, your doctor and health care team are there to help you through this.
Together you can find the right combination of treatments that works best for you. [AUDIO LOGO]
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