Breast cancer treatment is determined by different factors, including age, health status, stage of breast cancer and tumour size etc. There is no standardised answer. Common treatment methods include the following five:
Removal of cancer cells: including total mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery, axillary sentinel lymph node biopsy or removal, etc.
According to the specific conditions of each patient, the doctor will recommend the most suitable surgery. Factors that will be considered include tumour size, level of spread, patient's physical condition, recurrence rate, etc.
After total mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery, the physical appearance of the patient’s breast will be affected. Some people may lose self-esteem as a result.
Breast prosthesis is an artificial breast, which is made from medical-grade soft silicone gel. The shape and texture of breast prosthesis are similar to natural breasts. There are full breast prosthesis and shaped breast prosthesis.
Breast prosthesis can help patient rebuild confidence, and ease the discomfort associated with surgery by relieving stiffness, numbness, and pain in the neck and shoulders. This helps alleviate the adverse impact after surgery.
Chemotherapy is a form of treatment using a class of medicine called cytotoxic drugs, which kill or control cancer cells. The administered cytotoxic drugs enter the bloodstream and travel to all parts of the body. The drugs destroy breast cancer cells by interfering with their ability to grow and divide. Several drugs are given in combination and each drug damages the cells at some point in their reproductive cycle.
Radiation treatment is a form of treatment using ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation is capable of inflicting damage at the DNA level of a cell and can stop cells from dividing.
Hormonal therapy has played an important role in all stages of the treatment and prevention strategy for breast cancer. Breast cancers all develop from abnormal breast cells which are often sensitive to sex hormones, such as oestrogen and progesterone. By depriving cancer tumours of these hormones the growth stimulus is removed. Hormonal therapy is usually used after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
Targeted therapy drugs treat and relieve symptoms through specific molecules that interfere with the growth and survival of cancer cells. The principle of targeted therapy drugs is similar to chemotherapy. However, targeted therapy drugs target the Achilles' heels of cancer cells, and affect healthy cells less. Since chemotherapeutic drugs attack all actively dividing cells globally, they cause more side effects than targeted therapy drugs.