Treating Breast Cancer
Treatment for Breast cancer is dependent on the stage of cancer, tumour size and the likelihood of spreading. Once your doctor has determined all of these factors the right treatment method will be decided. There are many ways to go about treating breast cancer with surgery being the most common. Here are a few examples of different surgeries that are used to treat breast cancer (one or a combination of):
- Lumpectomy – This surgery is done to remove the tumour within the breast and whatever other tissue is necessary without removing the whole breast
- Mastectomy – this surgical procedure is to remove the entire breast. A double mastectomy removes both breasts.
- Sentinel Node Biopsy – Sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes that receive drainage from a tumour. This procedure is to remove the lymph nodes and test them for cancer cells to see if the cancer is likely to spread or not.
- Axillary Lymph Node Dissection – the lymphatic system is the most common route for cancer to spread through the body. If cancer cells are found after a sentinel node biopsy, your doctor will recommend removing further nodes to prevent spreading.
- Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy – Often people might only have cancer in one breast although the removal of both might occur to prevent chances of getting breast cancer again. This is called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, the removal of a healthy breast.
Besides surgery other methods of treatment include:
- Radiation Therapy – this treatment can be done internally or externally. External radiation therapy is targeting the cancer cells and killing them with highly powered radiation beams. When this treatment is done internally it is called brachytherapy. This uses radioactive seeds or pellets which are placed inside the body, close to the cancer cells, to kill them.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a drug therapy. Drugs are aimed to stop the division and growth of the cancer cells. The drugs are most commonly taken through a needle into the veins, called intravenous chemotherapy. It can also be done through pill/capsules, liquid as an injection or into the mouth or as a cream on the skin.
- Hormone therapy – some breast cancer types can be sensitive to therapy. Estrogen and progesterone can sometimes stimulate the growth of cancer cells. This treatment will stop your body’s production of these hormones all together or block the cancer cells receptors to the hormones.
- Medications – different medications can be used to do different things depending on the factors of your cancer. Your doctor may prescribe you with medication to slow cancer growth, reduce symptoms or prolong life expectancy.
Cancer treatments in Western Medicine can have many nasty and unwanted side effects. To manage these side effects some people choose Chinese medicine, which is a holistic approach to health. It focuses on restoring harmony and balance between the organs to optimize bodily function. Research is being done on the benefits that Chinese medicine, specifically acupuncture, provides for cancer patients. Acupuncture has been shown to help patients withstand chemotherapy and radiation. It has also been shown to ease some of the secondary effects that come with this. This includes nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, fatigue, anxiety, depression and immune suppression. This helps patients to tolerate the full effect of cancer treatments and allow the best possible medical outcome.
If you’re interested in seeking Chinese medicinal treatment, contact us at Centre of Balance to learn about how we can help you today.
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