Breast cancer kills many women every year. Though most lump formations in the breast turn out to be harmless, a percentage of the population are not lucky enough to have benign and harmless varieties of lumps.
Based on the biopsy results of the lump and the evaluation and stage of the cancerous lump, treatment methods are charted out extensively by the doctor.
All breast cancers do not have the same characteristics. Some are more aggressive than the others and can cause a serious threat to the life due to its fast spread and uncontrollable nature. The types of breast cancers that are aggressive are inflammatory breast cancer, Paget’s disease, invasive cancers when it has entered the blood stream, metaplastic cancer etc. Based on the stage of these cancers, they require very rigorous treatment.
Treatments For Aggressive Breast Cancer
Removal Of Entire Breast Tissue
In most cases of aggressive breast cancer, the diagnosis is made when the cancer has already spread far and wide. In such cases the doctor will not have much option but to remove the entire breast tissue. Mastectomy is considered by the doctor when the lump and surrounding tissues cannot be surgically removed to form a clean margin of tissues without cancer.
Mastectomy is also done when the cancer has metastasised to other areas and the lymph nodes and also in the case of an inflammatory breast cancer.
For aggressive cancers, one cannot wait for the long winded conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy to take effect. By then, the cancer would have spread too far for the patient to be resuscitated back to life. In such cases, an aggressive treatment method like neoadjuvent therapy is administered.
In this method which includes all treatment methods like a chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy in its most aggressive form, the aim is to first reduce the size of the growing tumour considerably before surgery is done. Then the smaller sized tumour is surgically removed so that much less breast mass is lost after the surgery.
Lymph Node Biopsy And Removal
Most aggressive breast cancers spread fast and reach the lymphatic system when it becomes dangerous as the lymph can transport the cancer cells all throughput the body causing metastasis. To check this, doctors normally remove the lymph from the nodes for biopsy.
This can be at the time of surgery when the entire lymph node is removed or through the testing of the fluid. If the cancer is found to be metastasised, more treatment methods will be administered.
Radiation And Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs which are administered intravenously or orally to kill stray cancer cells and other metastasis that is present in the body. It is a cyclic treatment which takes several months to complete. It is normally used for stage II to stage IV of breast cancer.
In radiation treatment, radioactive beams are directed right at the cancerous cells for destroying them. In most aggressive treatment methods, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment is administered for better results. Radiation therapy is sometimes used for reducing the size of tumour before surgery and also on areas where there are chances of the cancer to spread.