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Goals of Treatment of Breast Cancer

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Goals of Treatment of Breast Cancer  

What goals are possible in treating breast cancer?

Possible goals of treatment of breast cancer include:

• Curing the disease (i.e., achieving long-term remission of the disease by removing the tumor and permanently eliminating all the cancer cells from the body)
• Prolonging life
• Improving quality of life by eliminating or reducing symptoms of the disease

Every breast cancer is as unique as every patient. When you and your oncologists decide on the goals for your treatment and the specific treatment options to achieve the goals, several factors need to be considered, especially:

• Your cancer’s characteristics — its stage (how far it already has spread), aggressiveness (its potential for spreading), size, lack or presence of estrogen receptors, etc.

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

The stage of your cancer 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.

Breast cancers that are estrogen- or progesterone-receptor positive may benefit from certain hormonal therapies. A breast cancer that has a genetic characteristic called HER-2 over-expression would be more likely to respond to the biological medication, Herceptin than would other types of breast cancers.

Apart from your breast cancer’s characteristics, you and your oncologists 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 oncologists will need to discuss all of these issues before choosing a treatment plan.

Questions Related to Goals of Treatment of Breast Cancer
If my cancer does recur, how will I be treated?
I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer. What should I do, including deciding on treatment?
Should I get a second opinion from another doctor about my breast cancer?
What are the treatment options for breast cancer?
What things should I consider when deciding on a type of treatment for my breast cancer?
What does a cancer’s histological grade have to do with selecting a type of treatment?
What treatments are usually associated with the different stages of breast cancer?
What is a bone scan? Why do I need one?
What is the difference between breast cancer and recurrent breast cancer? How do the treatments differ?
What are breast-conserving surgeries?
Why do I need so many doctors involved in my treatment for breast cancer? What do all the doctors do?
What is the difference between local and systemic treatment of breast cancer?
How is hypercalcemia treated?
What is the difference between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy?
When would I choose a mastectomy over a lumpectomy?
When is radiation added after a mastectomy?
What is a lumpectomy?
What is a partial mastectomy?
What is a radical mastectomy?
What is a modified radical mastectomy?
What is a total mastectomy?
What is a segmental mastectomy?
What is a skin-sparing mastectomy?
What is involved with a lumpectomy surgery? How long will it take?
What is involved with a mastectomy surgery? How long will it take to recover?
What is radiation therapy?
When is radiation therapy appropriate for breast cancer?
When is radiation therapy not an option for breast cancer?
Does the procedure for external radiation therapy hurt?
Will external radiation therapy make me radioactive?
Does radiation therapy increase my risk of my breast cancer recurring?
Does radiation therapy increase my risk of developing cancer in my other breast?
Who is a dosimetrist?
What happens during your radiation setup?
What happens during the actual treatments with external radiation?
What is brachytherapy?
How long will my external radiation therapy take?
What is a boost dose of radiation?
What is intraoperative radiation therapy?
What is hyperfractionated radiation therapy?
What is radiosurgery ablation?
Can I take vitamins during radiation treatment?
What is chemotherapy? How does it work? How is the treatment taken?
What are SERMs? How do they work?
What are aromatase inhibitors? How do they work?
What is tamoxifen? How does it work?
What is Arimidex?
What is Taxol?
What are the different classes of chemotherapy (chemo) drugs used to treat breast cancer?
What are adjuncts?

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