4 Breast Cancer Treatment Options and Their Side Effects

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4 Breast Cancer Treatment Options and Their Side Effects

29 December 2021
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the breast. Breast cancer is more common in women, but men can get it as well. Cancer treatments options will generally be the same for both men and women.  

There are a few different cancer treatments options. Depending on the stage of your breast cancer, some may work better than others. 

1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy occurs when an anti-cancer drug is taken by mouth, injected, or infused into the bloodstream. Cancer cells divide often, which makes it easier for chemotherapy drugs to kill the cancer cells because the drug targets dividing cells. Side effects can include hair loss, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, nerve damage, and vomiting. 

2. Hormone Therapy

Some cancer cells can attach to hormones like estrogen. Hormone therapy can only be used on those cells. Hormone therapy can stop the cancer cells from attaching to hormones. Hormone therapy is commonly used before and/or after surgery to prevent cancer cells from growing back. Side effects can include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, menstrual cycle changes, blood clots, and bone thinning. 

3. Radiation Therapy

Radiation occurs when high-energy beams are used to target and kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used before surgery to shrink the cancer cells before removal. Side effects can include breast swelling, fatigue, skin peeling, skin redness, smaller breasts, and the inability to breastfeed from the treated breast.

4. Surgery

Depending on the location and size of the cancer cells, it may be possible to surgically remove all or some of the cells. Surgery may not always be an option. The two types of surgical options include mastectomy (single or double) or lumpectomy. 

A mastectomy would require your surgeon to remove your entire breast. A double mastectomy would require the removal of both breasts. A lumpectomy only requires the surgeon to remove the cancerous part of the breast. Mastectomies are very difficult for some women and a lumpectomy would allow you to keep your breasts. 

A mastectomy can also be used as a way to prevent breast cancer. If you are at great risk of breast cancer, it may be a good idea to look at preventative options. The chance of getting breast cancer is not enough for some women to commit to a full mastectomy, but to some, it's more important to stay healthy than it is to have their breasts. Either decision is valid, but it's important to know that you do have that option. 

For more insight on your options, contact local breast cancer treatment services.