Treatment of Breast Cancer: Surgery and Chemotherapy
Surgery and chemotherapy are the options of treatment of breast cancer. Removal of affected breast by surgery is known as mastectomy. Surgery is performed only after a positive biopsy. Chemotherapy is prescribed at more advanced stages of the disease.
What is a mastectomy
A mastectomy is a breast removal
operation. Over the years, there have been many points of view propounded
regarding the extent of surgery required.
The classical procedure was known
as a radical mastectomy in which the entire affected breast, the chest
muscles underneath, and the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. Most
surgeons now agree that this is necessary only in rare cases. The standard
operation for most breast cancers is now the modified radical mastectomy or the total mastectomy. In this procedure, the chest wall muscles are not removed. The simple mastectomy involves the complete removal
of the breast, but not the lymph nodes under the arms or the chest wall
What is lumpectomy
Lumpectomy, otherwise known as a
segmental mastectomy, involves the local removal of the tumor. In this
procedure, only a portion of the breast is removed, including the cancer
and a surrounding margin of breast tissue.
Lumpectomy accompanied by removal
of the underarm lymph nodes coupled with subsequent radiation therapy is
the popular alternative to a modified radical mastectomy. Radiation therapy
is used after surgery to eliminate any cancer cells that may remain.
When should you undergo
Surgery can be performed immediately
after a positive biopsy so that the patient can avoid having to undergo
a second round of anaesthesia and another surgery. Nowadays, the trend
is to have two separate surgeries so that the women have time to evaluate
their treatment options and seek a second opinion if they so desire.
What is adjuvant therapy
This treatment involves the use of
chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs) and hormone therapy. The role of adjuvant
therapy is the subject of much debate. This treatment is usually prescribed
at more advanced stages of the disease. In the future, the use of early
chemotherapy and hormone therapy may be an important factor in reducing
the death rate from this disease.
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