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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Breast Cancer Treatment

By the advent of modern technologies and research in medicine, new treatment methodologies are developing which are more effective and have fewer side effects. Various treatment options with their merits and demerits are discussed below;


Chemotherapy, as its name suggests, is use of chemical substances to inhabit the spread of cancer cells by destroying these cells in the body in the body. The most efficient chemicals include “Tamoxifen” or “aminoglutethimide”. The chemotherapy can be administered through an IV, an injection, swallowed in a pill or liquid or rubbed on the skin as a cream. Being cheap, effective and most available option to cope up with breast cancer, many patients choose this method for fighting cancer.

Although this method gives fast and aggressive results it also carries some side effects like loss of hair, change in appetite, skin and nail changes, fatigue, pain, anemia and swelling.

Biological Therapy:

Biological therapy is somewhat like chemotherapy (slowing and destroying effect on cancer cells), the difference is that it has the added benefit of working with the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer and help manage the negative side effects.

Hormonal Therapy:

Hormonal therapy is a set of estrogen and progestin pills that make up the deficiency of these hormones thus help ease the side effects associated with post-menopause and breast cancer treatment.  Generally this treatment is limited to older women since their bodies are no longer producing these hormones after menopause.

                                                     Radiation Therapy:

In radiation therapy a ray of energy is used to destroy the cancer cells deep inside the body, thus making it impossible for them to grow and divide.Extra precaution needs to be takes to avoid the contact of these rays with healthy tissues to avoid any damage to them . “Intracavitary” or “intraluminal” radiation technique is an effective technology to destroy the cancer cells with less chances of healthy tissue damage (National Cancer Institute). 

Surgical Removal:

Surgical removal of the cancerous cells is at times necessary to eliminate the cancer tissues thus restricting their further growth. There are several different surgical options for breast cancer patients that mainly depend upon the stage of the breast cancer. Like, “Breast Spring Surgery” can be performed in earlier diagnosis of breast cancer, otherwise single or double “Mastectomy” needs to be performed in later stages of the breast cancer.

Bone Marrow Transplant:

This procedure offers a newer type of treatment. The high doses of chemotherapy can destroy patients bone marrow, thus marrow is taken from bones before treatment. The marrow is then frozen and the patient is given high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to treat the cancer. The marrow taken out is then thawed and given to the patient through a needle in a vein to replace the marrow that was destroyed.


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