Breast Cancer Treatment
In the past, there were few treatments available to help patients with breast cancer. Now, there are a number of reliable alternatives to help you overcome your breast cancer and help you maintain your breast health. It is important to note, though, that a woman's prognosis improves the earlier she notices symptoms and is diagnosed.
Surgery used to be the first-line approach to treating breast cancer. It is still used frequently, only it is now much less invasive and disfiguring. The types of surgery used are:
- Lumpectomy, in which the lump (or tumor) is removed from the breast with a small amount of surrounding tissue. The lumpectomy is sometimes called breast-conserving surgery because it limits disfiguration of your breast.
- Total mastectomy surgery involves removing the entire breast, but no auxiliary muscles or lymph nodes are taken.
- Modified radical mastectomy is the most common kind of mastectomy performed today. During this mastectomy, the entire breast and some lymph nodes are removed.
- Radical mastectomies are rarely performed today. It involves removing the entire breast, auxiliary lymph nodes, as well as the muscles in the chest wall.
Radiation is a very effective treatment for breast cancer, particularly when coupled with surgical techniques. Radiation uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells in your body. Radiation can be delivered to your breast externally, through a machine, or internally, through certain radioactive substances. Side effects include:
- hair loss
- mouth sores
- lack of appetite
Chemotherapy consists of specific drugs that help to kill or damage cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are taken orally or intravenously, and enter your bloodstream to help interfere with the division of cancer cells. Side effects include:
- hair loss
- loss of appetitie
- mouth sores
Hormonal therapy is also effective in reducing the growth of cancer cells. Certain medications can help to block or reduce the amount of estrogen your body produces. It is thought that estrogen plays a key role in encouraging cells to divide. Side effects are similar to menopause symptoms, and include:
- hot flashes
- mood swings
Donate Your Hair
If someone you know is going through cancer treatment, then grow, cut, and donate your hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign. All donated hair will be used to make wigs for women that have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.