Breast Cancer: Supervision continued
After completing breast cancer therapy, all women remain under the supervision of an oncologist. According to international…
A variant of systemic treatment of women with breast cancer, which determines a high level of HER2 protein. Drugs such as trastuzumab and lapatinib may slow the growth of the tumor and its metastases, as well as reduce the risk of recurrence. Side effects of targeted therapy are nausea, flu-like condition. Rare: cardiac disorders, allergies, in combination with HT – risk of anemia and infection.
The research, which tests new drugs, is called clinical trials. By participating in clinical trials, women with breast cancer are given the opportunity to undergo a new generation of drugs before they become widely available. Each study has its own program. Specialists conduct strict selection of patients, depending on the goals of the program. Such studies are conducted by large specialized clinics, as well as national cancer institutes.
This type of treatment involves the joint use with conventional methods of cancer treatment methods of folk or alternative medicine. An important point: complementary medicine is not an alternative to traditional cancer therapy. It includes: acupuncture, herbal medicine, meditation, hypnosis and more. It is better to use certain techniques after consulting your doctor. For the most part, complementary therapies can improve the quality of life of cancer patients, but are not able to radically cure cancer.
Cancer treatment depending on the stage
Stage 0 or cancer in situ (ductal carcinoma in situ). The following treatment options are shown:
- Organ-sparing surgery and radiation therapy, with or without hormone therapy
- Complete mastectomy with or without hormone therapy
- Organ-sparing operation without PT
- Clinical trials testing organ-sparing surgery with hormone therapy, with or without PT
Stages I, II, III
For stages of breast cancer I, II, and III A, the following surgery options are acceptable:
- Organ-sparing surgery with removal of lymph nodes and PT
- Modified radical mastectomy, with or without hormone therapy
Depending on the clinical stage of cancer, the doctor recommends an option of systemic therapy: HT, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, treatment with new generations of drugs that are undergoing clinical trials.
Stage IV (metastatic breast cancer)
Methods that can slow tumor growth and improve well-being are used:
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Operation and / or PA
- Methods of treatment undergoing clinical trials
- Bisphosphonates (drugs to improve bone structure, reduce pain).
Breast reconstruction involves plastic surgery to restore the shape of the breast after mastectomy. Surgery can improve the cosmetic result, but restored breasts may differ in appearance and touch from healthy breasts. Breast reconstruction surgery can be “immediate” (during mastectomy) and “delayed” (after some time). Implants and own tissues are used for reconstruction. Another option for visual improvement after mastectomy is to wear breast prostheses. The prosthesis is attached either to the skin or placed in a bra.
After completing breast cancer therapy, all women remain under the supervision of an oncologist. According to international recommendations, it is necessary to visit a specialist once every 3-6 months for the first 3-5 years. In the future, control examinations are conducted once a year. It is recommended to have a monthly self-examination of the gland and if you find swelling in the chest or armpits, changes in the shape of the breasts or redness of the skin, you should see a doctor soon. As instrumental methods of research appoint mammography and MRI. You should not wait for a routine examination if there is weight loss, decreased appetite, heart pain or impaired vision. If you feel worse, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Questions to the doctor
Questions to ask your doctor about the treatment of breast cancer:
- What is your type of breast cancer?
- What is the stage of your breast cancer?
- What is the degree of differentiation of your breast cancer?
- Do you have hormone receptors in your cancer?
- Has your tumor been tested for HER2?
- Do you need any other tests?
- Can the doctor explain the histological report to you?
- What treatments does your doctor recommend?
- Are there people who have been cured of cancer who have received such treatment and with whom you could talk?
- How soon do you need to start treatment?
- Does your doctor think your cancer will respond to treatment?
- Who will be on your treatment team?
- Who can you call if you have any more questions?
Questions to ask your doctor about breast reconstruction:
- What are your options for breast reconstruction?
- What type of reconstruction does the doctor recommend?
- What results are real for you?
- What is the latest information on implant safety at this time?
- When are you recommended to start breast reconstruction?
- How many operations will you need?
- Will there be scars? Where? What size?
- What are the risks during the operation? And after her?
- How long will you be in the hospital? Will you need help returning home?
- How long will the recovery take?
- Will reconstruction interfere with any other type of treatment?
- How many reconstructions has the doctor already performed?
- Can he show you photos of women who have had breast reconstruction surgery?
- Can you talk to other women who have had the same operation?
Questions to ask your doctor about follow-up:
- How often should you see a doctor for further supervision?
- Who will you come to the receptions for further supervision?
- What review will be conducted at the receptions for further supervision?
- What tests will you need to take during follow-up?
- How often will you need to take them?
- What is the probability that your breast cancer will return or the probability of developing another type of cancer?
- What symptoms should you pay attention to?
- If any of these symptoms occur, who should you call?
- What are the most common long-term and delayed effects of your treatment?
- How can you get a copy of your medical record?
- What can you do to stay healthy?
- How can you find a support group?
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