Breast cancer treatments

The treatment modalities include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and newer targeted therapies.

Surgery: Each patient's individual needs are considered when deciding to choose from the wide range of surgical options including, lumpectomy / wide local excision of cancer, oncoplastic breast conservations and tissue flaps are regularly carried out in the unit to to provide best possible aesthetic results without compromising oncological principles, All our breast cancer patients requiring mastectomy are offered either an appropriate primary reconstruction options at the time of their breast cancer surgery or a delayed reconstruction after completion of their adjutant chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is necessary in almost all cases if the breast is preserved (lumpectomy) and in some cases after a mastectomy. Conventional radiotherapy as well as targeted intraoperative radiotherapy (TARGIT) is available for our patients. Conventional radiotherapy is given as daily doses over a period of 3 to 6 weeks. TARGIT is given as a single focussed dose during the lumpectomy operation. The type of radiation treatment is chosen as per an individual patient's needs.

Hormone therapy: You may be advised to have hormone therapy if your breast cancer is oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor positive (ER+ PgR+). This type of breast cancer has receptors within the cell that bind to the female hormone oestrogen and stimulate the cancer to grow. If your cancer is found to be hormone receptor negative, then hormone therapy will not be of any benefit to you.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of treatment for cancer where medicine is used to kill cancer cells. It can be given either as a tablet, or as an injection or infusion directly into a vein. Chemotherapy is given after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Biologic therapy: This is the name for a group of drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with the biology of the cancer cells. They target specific processes in the cells that cause cancer to grow. For example, some stop a group of proteins, called growth factors, which would otherwise latch on to a cancer cell and help it grow faster and live longer.

By working on the precise ways cancer cells develop, targeted therapies may be more effective and less harmful to normal cells than other cancer treatments. The most well known targeted therapy at the moment is trastuzumab (Herceptin). However, the benefits of others are being looked at in clinical trials so it is likely that more targeted therapies will be more widely available for primary, secondary and locally advanced breast cancer in the future.
Working on it!