Many of the cancer treatment and therapies nowadays are strong and efficient in the battle against cancer. Long gone are the days when humans were powerless against cancer and its consequences. It is widespread knowledge that cancer is still difficult to cure. However, the advancements in treatment strategies today, particularly metastatic breast cancer treatments, make these therapies better than before.
Breast cancer is perhaps one of the most common and formidable cancer types. When the disease is diagnosed at stage 4 breast cancer (or metastatic breast cancer) at detection, it can be a tough standpoint. Many therapies may be available, but it will still be very hard if cancer is already at a metastatic stage when detected. Many people can seem at a loss when faced with the different treatment options for stage 4 breast cancers. Let us shed light on this and examine some of the most common metastatic breast cancer treatments.
Available Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments
Surgery and radiation therapy are most effective when the tumor has localized to the breast and can be easily removed. This same treatment is also used for benign tumors and small sized tumors. The latest breast cancer treatments include advances in chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biologic therapy. These are used in advanced stages of cancer when the tumor is no longer confined to just the breast. They are used in metastatic cancer which has spread to other parts of the body as well. If the tumor has originally spread from the breast, it is referred to as metastatic breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Surgery
Breast cancer surgery aims to remove the bulk of the cancerous tissue. Better surgical options have emerged which give patients the chance to undergo reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. Surgery may also be in the form of a breast or lymph node biopsy. In this case, lymph node biopsies are a form of diagnosis to evaluate the disease. Recent metastatic breast cancer treatments have surgical options which include a prophylactic mastectomy or a removal of the ovaries in some cases.
Radiation therapy destroys the cancer cells and prevents them from proliferating within the body. This helps prevent the spread of cancer. Radiations have also advanced by leaps and bounds. The latest metastatic breast cancer treatments also include targeted radiation. This is more effective and prevents injury to the surrounding healthy cells as well. Practitioners can now deliver Radiation in appropriate doses with lesser side effects.
Practitioners consider chemotherapy to be a systemic therapy as it targets cancer cells in the entire body. New schedules of chemotherapy include adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy. These can also be supplemented by a stem cell or bone marrow transplant which is useful in cases where the immune system is severely depressed. Stem cell therapy has become the cynosure of all eyes as it offers unbelievable potential in cases of breast cancer. Stem cell therapy is one of the latest treatments for breast cancer. It allows the patient to receive stem cells which have the potential to turn into any of the body’s cells and replicate at a faster pace to combat the cancer cells.
Targeted Biological Therapy
Targeted biologic therapies are another chapter in the latest treatments for breast cancer. These therapies disrupt cellular processes that contribute to the continued growth of cancer cells. Such treatments include drugs like Tykerb, Herceptin, Avastin and Iressa. Breast cancers are frequently dependent on estrogen for their growth. Anti-estrogen hormone therapy starves tumor cells of the estrogen they need to grow, resulting in cancer cell death. Practitioners can either administer this type of therapy may before surgery, or concurrently with radiation.
Other Treatment Methods
Practitioners are adopting other newer techniques due to their efficiency. One of these is the sentinel lymph node biopsy. In cases where surgery follows, the surgery procedure will treat or remove the infected lymph to save the rest part of the body from this infection. High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant is one of the steps in this procedure.
Although the life risk of breast cancer is 10%, the important thing is to have a life with quality rather than quantity. The war against breast cancer has increased daily. Every person must go for regular checkups to avoid or detect such diseases.
Hormone therapies are also an effective treatment and can include estrogen receptor blockers, aromatase inhibitors, oophorectomy and chemical ovarian suppression.
Metastatic breast cancer treatments involve many types of approaches. The initial diagnosis and medical work up is the guide to the type of therapy you will undergo. There are some criteria on which your cancer treatment depends like the cellular composition of cancer, the size of the tumor, the stage of cancer you have and your hormonal status.