Treatment

Transcript

Lt Col Flemings
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your provider will refer you to several specialists, including a medical oncologist, possibly a surgeon, and a radiation oncologist. You also may be referred to a plastic surgeon. Treatment generally begins within a few weeks of diagnosis, after you’ve had time to review your treatment choices, get a second opinion, and learn more about your condition.

Maj Patel
There are a variety of treatments for breast cancer, and the appropriate treatment is based on a number of factors including the stage of the cancer, the receptor status of the cancer, and your overall health. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy. Many women receive more than one type of treatment. The different treatments can be divided into two groups: local therapy and systemic therapy.

Lt Col Flemings
Local therapy includes surgery and radiation therapy, both of which are designed to remove or destroy cancer in the breast. When breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, local therapy may also be used to control the disease in those specific areas.

Maj Patel
Systemic therapy includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy. Systemic therapy enters the bloodstream to destroy or control cancer throughout the body. Some women with breast cancer have systemic therapy to shrink the tumor before having surgery or radiation. More commonly, women have systemic therapy after surgery or radiation to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Lt Col Flemings
Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. The severity of these side effects depends mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each woman, and they may change from one treatment session to the next.

Maj Patel
Before treatment starts, your healthcare team will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to help you manage them.