Learning About Your Breast Cancer Treatment Options

When you go in for your routine mammogram, a breast cancer diagnosis may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, if you do find yourself facing such a diagnosis, you need to know the different treatment options that are available to you. Meeting with your oncologist with an idea in mind of what treatments they will recommend to you will allow you to be active in the decision-making process for your breast cancer treatments, and will also give you the opportunity to ask any specific treatment-related questions you may have before you get started. Get to know a few of your breast cancer treatment options so that you can schedule your oncology appointment as soon as possible.

Hormone Therapies

What you may not know is that there are numerous different types of breast cancer. Each of these types has different genetic markers and factors that will affect how your body will respond to treatments. Hormone therapies, for example, are a form of breast cancer treatment that work on breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive.

What this means is that the cancer cells use the hormones in your body like progesterone and estrogen as fuel to make them grow and spread. Most cases of breast cancer are hormone receptor-positive. Hormone therapies, therefore, are designed to suppress the body from releasing those hormones. If there are fewer hormones in the body, the cancer cells will not be able to thrive and grow as they had previously. In fact, the lack of hormone support could even destroy existing cancer cells.

These therapies can also work to block estrogen from functioning in the breast tissue. In other words, they block estrogen from being sent to the breasts. The dual function of reducing the overall production of estrogen and blocking the breasts from receiving it can have a major impact on your breast cancer.

Immune Targeted Therapies

Another form of treatment for breast cancer is known as immune targeted therapy. An immune targeted therapy is a drug or a combination of drugs that work like the body's own immune system. These drugs are designed specifically to attack certain attributes of the cancer cells in your body that are unlike the attributes of your healthy cells (such as certain protein or genetic sequences).

The idea behind immune targeted therapies is to use a more customized treatment that works specifically against the type of breast cancer cells you have. It also spares the healthy cells in your breasts and the rest of your body from being destroyed in the treatment process. This is a contrast to chemotherapy and radiation therapy (also breast cancer treatment options) that are less targeted and can do damage to both healthy and cancerous cells in the body.

With these treatment options in mind for your breast cancer, you can meet with your oncologist to discuss your options and develop a treatment program that is right for you. Contact a company like Southwest Oncology Centers for more information.