Any time you have to try and handle any type of illness, it can be difficult for the patient, as well as for the loved ones who are around them. This can be especially true when you find out that you have cancer.
There are many types of cancers and all have different methods of treatment – and different success rates in the treatment. Even though many women may fear it when it happens, it is good to know that there are several options available to you when you must deal with something as serious as breast cancer.
Even within this type of cancer itself, there are different forms and the method in which it spreads can differ greatly from person to person.
This is one of the reasons that there are so many treatment options that are currently used for people. People respond differently to even the same types of treatments.
While one patient may react well to a specific medicine, others will not be able to handle it or its side effects.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, the medicines just do not prove effective in fighting the cancer in an individual, and another treatment or alternative methods need to be tried.
One of the keys to treatment, of course, is early detection of the disease. If you notice anything different in the feel of your breasts or there is anything that concerns you, it is always best to bring this to the attention of your physician as soon as possible.
It may be nothing, but there are tests that can be run – and a mammogram can be taken to see if there is any need for concern on your part.
While there is some debate about the effectiveness of breast self-examination, it is definitely a good idea to include this in your arsenal of health tricks. Finding a lump during breast self-examination can definitely help identify potential problems early.
Many of the treatments that are available for this form of cancer are dependent on the stage that the disease is in when it has been detected. Some doctors may choose to take a mixed approach to treatment. This means they may combine types of medicine with other options, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
For many women, surgery will turn out to be the most likely option. A mastectomy can be performed, which can involve the removal of one or both breasts, or even just a part of the breast. Most of this is determined by the stage of the disease and the extent to which it has spread.
For women with a family history of breast cancer (i.e., most women in your family get it), especially severe breast cancer, a preventative mastectomy can help ease your mind about when breast cancer may show up. There are also DNA tests that can be run, to see if you should consider this option.
Radiation can also be used to destroy the cancerous cells that were found. This is another common treatment option. Some patients respond very well to this, while others experience varied side effects as a result of the treatment, so all your options need to be weighed before moving ahead.
It is important to know that there are several options available to you if you have been found to have breast cancer. Talk everything over with your doctors and be sure to get as much information as possible on everything before you make a decision. With their advice, you can take the best course of action to give you the best chance at a full recovery.
Jamie Pratt is a contributing writer for The Breast Cancer Society, Inc. — a comprehensive resource guide covering breast cancer information, facts, statistics and other pertinent information. Learn more about their cause and join the community that has already helped thousands of breast cancer patients and survivors.
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