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What to Consider When Deciding on Treatment

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What to Consider When Deciding on Treatment  

What things should I consider when deciding on a type of treatment for my breast cancer?

Every breast cancer is as unique as every patient. When deciding on treatment options, you need to consider a number of factors, chief among them:

  • Your cancerís characteristics ó its stage (how far it already has spread); aggressiveness; size; lack or presence of estrogen receptors, other hormone receptors, and HER2 receptors; etc.

  • Your medical and physical characteristics ó more specifically, your age, overall health, child-bearing status, menopausal status, size of breasts, etc.

  • The stage your cancer is at will be the main determining factor for selecting a treatment. There are a wide range of treatment options to consider for an early stage cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes, compared with a tumor that has metastasized to other organs in the body.

    Cancers that are estrogen- or progesterone-receptor positive may benefit from certain hormonal therapies. A cancer that has a genetic characteristic called HER-2 overexpression may be more likely to respond to certain drugs than would other cancers.

    Apart from your cancerís characteristics, you also need to consider your age, general health, and many other medical factors that might conflict with certain treatment options. For example, if you suffer from heart disease, anemia, or osteoporosis and take medications for these conditions, you might not be able to tolerate certain types of radiation or certain types of chemotherapy. Older women who have already experienced childbirth may consider certain treatment options that a younger woman still looking forward to becoming a mother may want to rule out. You and your doctor will need to discuss all of these factors before choosing a treatment plan.

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