Breast cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when cells grow out of control in the breast. It usually begins as a tumor that is detected through an x-ray or can be felt as a lump. It often occurs in women, making it the most common cancer for women worldwide, while it can also affect men.
Two important facets of breast cancer are commonly intertwined for the benefit of breast cancer patients – research and treatment. Let’s further discuss these two factors in order to understand the initiatives towards alleviating breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Research
What does it take to overcome cancer? Research.
The goals of breast cancer research are; prevention, detection, and treatment. Drugs and treatments are continuously being explored to help find new ways to prevent, detect, and treat breast cancer.
Moreover, several advances towards breast cancer through research will pave their way in saving more lives in the future. As journals, grants, and clinical trials are at the heart of breast cancer research, its results improve over the years with the help of a growing number of dedicated researchers and advancements in technology.
Breast cancer research primarily helps in communicating ways for prevention, contributes to its early detection, and especially provides an improved and appropriate treatment for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatment
One of the centers of breast cancer research is treatment. There are currently multiple options for treatment that patients could consider along with their doctors. With this, it’s important to note that these options should be fit for the patient with the least possible risks and side effects.
There are three options when it comes to treating patients with breast cancer. These are local, systemic, and treatment plans.
Local treatments involve the treatment of tumors without affecting the rest of the body. It comes with surgery and radiation therapy.
Surgery entails treating the tumor while removing as much cancer as possible in the affected area. Radiation therapy, in contrast, uses high energy rays to destroy cancer cells.
Systemic treatments use drugs to reach cancer cells in almost any part of the body. It’s composed of Chemotherapy, Hormone therapy, Targeted therapy, and Immunotherapy.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs which are given through the veins or by mouth. Moreover, Hormone therapy is given based on the breast cancer type affected by hormones. Alternatively, targeted therapy is directed to specific changes in the cells that cause cancer, while Immunotherapy uses drugs that stimulate a person’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells effectively.
Finally, treatment plans involve comprehensive consultations with doctors. These treatment plans are based on the stage, type, and special situations which vary depending on a breast cancer patient’s condition.
Along with treatment plans, it is important to weigh in treatment decisions where suitable choices are made based on the state of a patient. A second opinion is also crucial alongside these decisions because it will provide a clearer diagnosis for the appropriate treatment of a patient.