Breast cancer is generally treated with many different options but most treatment plans include more than one type of treatment. Choosing the right treatment for you may be difficult. Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and their side effects.
Surgery: An operation where doctors cut out the cancer and is the most common treatment. Surgical options include a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and reconstruction.
Chemotherapy: Uses a combination of medicine that shrinks or kills the cancer cells. These medicines can be given orally by pills or through the veins to travel in the bloodstream.
Radiation Therapy: An operation that uses high energy rays to kill the cancer cells. It only affects the part of the body that is being treated and can also be used to destroy other cells that remained after surgery.
Hormonal Therapy: Blocks the cancer cells from getting the estrogen and progesterone it needs to grow.
Biological Therapy: Works with your body’s immune system to help fight cancer cells or to control the side effects from other cancer treatments.
Targeted Therapy: This treatment attacks specific cancer cells without harming the normal cells. This method is commonly used in combination with chemotherapy. Targeted drugs tend to have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.
Checkups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated so you’ll need regular checkups after breast cancer treatment. If you had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, your care team will want to see you every few months and then as time goes on, your appointments will be more spaced out.
Checkups also help detect health problems that may result from treatment such as lingering side effects or if you’re experiencing any new side effects. Checkups include an examination of the neck, armpit, and chest area. You should also continue to have regular mammograms, since it’s possible for a new breast cancer to develop.
During your follow-up appointments, it’s best to ask your doctor about the probability of developing a recurrence within the breast tissue or a distant recurrence in another organ based on the treatments you had.