Treatment Options for Breast Cancer

03 Oct, 2022

Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors; bearing in mind that early-stage cancer detection could reduce those risks especially in patients for patients over 40, or in patients who have a family history of breast cancer.

In general, there are five treatment options, including:
Surgery: doctors may perform lumpectomy or full mastectomy, followed by a breast reconstruction surgery depending on how big the tumor is. Surgery is considered the primary treatment for breast cancer and is usually followed by adjuvant chemotherapy.
Surgical options include:
  • Lumpectomy (also called partial mastectomy), a breast-conserving surgery that only removes the part of the breast that has cancer and a small rim around it to help prevent recurrence.
  • Mastectomy: mastectomy entails the removal of the entire affected breast, including the breast tissue, areola and nipple. Depending on each case, a breast reconstruction surgery may be done at the same time as mastectomy.

Lymph nodes under the arm: treatment options include:
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) where one or more lymph nodes are removed for examination to diagnose cancer or see how much it’s spread.
  • Lymphadenectomy. If cancer has spread to this area, nodes are surgically removed.

Breast reconstruction surgery entails using silicone implants or taking skin and fat from the abdomen or the back to make the breast shape.

1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. This type of cancer treatment works by keeping cancer cells from growing, dividing, and making more cells. Chemotherapy is recommended before surgery to shrink tumors.

2. Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy), is treatment with high-energy rays or particles (such as X-rays and proton beams) that destroy cancer cells. Radiation is necessary after partial mastectomy and is also recommended after full mastectomy in cases where cancer has spread widely or has reached nearby lymph nodes.

3. Hormone therapy: is a treatment for breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones (using estrogen ER receptors positive or progesterone PR receptors positive). It can effectively slow or stop metastatic cancer growth. Hormone therapy includes hormonal drug treatments or surgical removal of ovaries (oophorectomy).

4. Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer.

5. Palliative treatments, which may help relieve side effects of treatment, ease suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.

Hana Abdullah Saad Alkhrji - Consultant general Surgery and breast & Endocrine surgery, Dallah Hospitals - Al Nakheel