Our physicians at Manatee Memorial Hospital may use the following therapies separately, or in combination with surgery, to treat breast cancer.
External Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a common type of treatment generally used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and to reduce the likelihood of future recurrence of the cancer. During therapy, radiation is directed to the breast, chest wall and/or lymph nodes from a machine located outside the body. To optimize treatment, radiation is given daily, Monday through Friday, for several weeks. Side effects of radiation can include fatigue and some skin changes.
Chemotherapy drugs can be given intravenously or orally to kill cancer cells that are present in the body. Treatment generally lasts four to six months and can include such side effects as nausea, hair loss, weight gain and general fatigue. In recent years, however, these side effects have been minimized due to the development of new medications and the ability to administer more precise doses of chemotherapy.
Hormonal therapy inhibits the ability of natural hormones in the body, such as estrogen and progesterone, to join with cancer cells and encourage their growth and multiplication. The treatment is generally administered in cases where the cancer cells test positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors. With hormonal therapy, you will need to be followed carefully to minimize side effects.
Hormonal therapy is often used after surgery to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Sometimes it is started before surgery as well. It is usually taken for at least five years. There are several types of hormonal therapy. They each use different ways to keep estrogen from helping the cancer grow. Most types of hormonal therapy for breast cancer either lower estrogen levels or stop estrogen from acting on breast cancer cells.
Hormonal therapy can also be used to treat cancer that has come back after treatment or that has spread to other parts of the body.
To make an appointment at the Breast Care Center, contact us at 941-745-7391.
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