Breast cancer treatment is essential after initial diagnosis. There are many options to choose from and selecting the best one will depend on individual circumstances. It is essential to understand that even though they can cure the disease they can also bring harmful effects to the body. Here is a look at various ways to treat the condition and how to deal with side effects.
Common Treatments For This Type Of Cancer
- Surgery: Surgery is usually the first way to treat this condition. There are different degrees of surgery as well. For small tumors that are found early it may only be necessary to perform a lumpectomy. This takes away the tumor and limited amount of surrounding tissue leaving the breast virtually similar in appearance. A mastectomy is a more radical procedure which takes away the entire breast. Following this option it is possible to have breast reconstruction which rebuilds the area and returns it to more normal appearance. Often a woman with a family history of cancer will choose to have her ovaries removed from the body as a preventative measure. This lowers the levels of estrogen in the body and drops the likelihood of developing this cancer from the beginning.
- Chemotherapy And Radiation: Chemotherapy utilizes drugs to kill cells. It is best used when cancer is detected early or during advanced stage diagnosis. Side effects of chemotherapy will differ from person to person. Many people will experience fatigue diarrhea nausea and other unpleasant effects. Radiation uses strong waves of energy to kill cancer cells. It is highly effective at preventing future recurrence. This treatment is not as harsh as chemo but a patient may experience chest pain and fatigue that will go away in time.
- Hormone Therapy: This involves medication which lowers estrogen levels and blocks the effects of estrogen on breast cancer cells. In essence it can lower the chances of cancer from growing or returning after treatment. Certain drugs of this nature may cause fatigue nausea and joint pain.
- Targeted Therapies: A targeted therapy is a treatment that targets a specific part of cancer cells. This is better than chemotherapy since it does not harm as many healthy and normal cells.
Ways to Cope With Side Effects Of Treatment
There are many ways for a person to feel more comfortable while being treated. When certain negative effects arise there are solutions:
- Fatigue: When a person feels extremely tired a doctor may be able to prescribe a medicine that can increase energy. Exercise may be a more natural way to take away the sleepy and down feeling as well.
- Nausea: Nausea is most often a side effect of chemotherapy. There are certain drugs which can manage this symptom. It is always best to stay hydrated and eat a nutritious diet which helps to make the body stronger.
- Pain And Swelling: Once again a doctor can prescribe medicine to take the pain away. It is essential to use these drugs sparingly since they can become habit forming. To treat swelling a person can use compression garments which keep fluids properly circulating through the body.
- Infection: Treatments like chemotherapy may lower a person’s immune system and make them susceptible to disease. Therefore it is essential to stay away from crowds or people who are sick and take measures to stay well.
It is always best to discuss all treatment options with a doctor. This professional will be able to better explain the pros and cons of each choice. There are numerous support groups which will help a person cope with the emotional nature of this issue and help to get through breast cancer treatment.