Treatments you may receive if you suffer from cancer include:
Surgery is a common option for a lot of cancers. The extent of the surgery will depend on the extent to which the cancer has spread or to which it may spread.
For example in breast cancer, a lumpectomy may be necessary or maybe a radical mastectomy is deemed necessary.
Each individual case is different.
This is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells.
The total amount of drugs must be large enough to kill cancer cells but not so much as to destroy too many healthy cells.
The treatment you receive will be selected by your doctor to meet your particular health needs.
It is usually administered in cycles.
A cycle can usually be treatment for two or three weeks over a period of three months. Drugs can be taken orally (by mouth) or intravenously (into the vein).
Side effects that may be experienced include nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, increased chance of getting infections, bleeding, anaemia, tiredness and changes in your menstrual cycle. Most of these side effects stop once treatment ceases.
Chemotherapy is also used to reduce the size of cancerous growths thereby minimising the extent of other interventions such as surgery
This is a cancer treatment which uses high energy radiation (x-rays) to destroy cancer cells by injuring their ability to divide. For women with advanced cancers, radiation may be used to help make the tumour smaller and easier to remove by surgery. It may also help relieve pain caused by the cancer spreading into the bones.
Two types of radiotherapy are used to treat breast cancer:
- External Radiotherapy
Most of the time this is given as a back-up to breast cancer surgery – after a lumpectomy, segmentectomy, or mastectomy.
External beam radiation can cause the skin in the area to look and feel sunburned, though this gradually fades into a tanned look.
- Internal Radiotherapy
This type of radiotherapy is sometimes given as a back up after a lumpectomy or segmentectomy. It gives extra radiation to the area around the tumour.
You will have a general anaesthetic. Wires with a radioactive material are put in your breasts. The radioactivity disappears when the wires are taken out.
Possible side effects of radiation/radiotherapy include:
- Reddening and soreness of skin
They slowly disappear when your treatment finishes, though you may feel tired for some months.
It may be the case that certain levels of certain hormones help the cancer to grow. Hormonal therapy involves changing the levels of the hormones that may be helping the cancer to grow.
This therapy affects the entire body and is used along with other methods. At the time of biopsy (breast) cancer cells are checked to see if growth is influenced by the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, therefore testing whether this form of treatment should be used.