Thursday, December 6, 2007

Treatment of breast cancer


In recent years, there's been an explosion of life-saving treatment advances against breast cancer, bringing new hope and excitement. Instead of only one or two options, today there's an overwhelming menu of treatment choices that fight the complex mix of cells in each individual cancer. The decisions—surgery, then perhaps radiation, hormonal (anti-estrogen) therapy, and/or chemotherapy—can feel overwhelming. can help you understand your cancer stage and appropriate options, so you and your doctors can arrive at the best treatment plan for YOU.

In the following pages of the Treatment section, you can learn about:

* Surgery
Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), mastectomy, and lymph node dissection, and what to expect from each.

* Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy—also called radiotherapy—is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells that may linger after surgery. Radiation can reduce the risk of recurrence by 50% to 66% (about a half to two-thirds reduction in risk). Despite what many women fear, radiation therapy is relatively easy to tolerate, and its side effects are limited to the treated area.

Your radiation treatment will be overseen by a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation treatment.

* Targeted Therapies
Including Herceptin: How they work, who should get them, how they're given, side effects, and major studies.

* Hormonal Therapy
The link between hormones and breast cancer and how different groups of drugs—including ERDs, SERMs, and aromatase inhibitors—can affect that link.

* Chemotherapy
Who should get it, how it works, different types, side effects, and how to manage them.

* Complementary Medicine
How complementary medicine techniques such as acupuncture, meditation, and yoga could be a helpful addition to your regular medical treatment. Includes research on complementary techniques and ways to find qualified practitioners.

* Building Long-Term Health
Why it's so important to stick to your treatment plan, take the full course of medications, and continue with regular tests and doctors' visits to keep yourself healthy into the future.

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