Breast Cancer Treatment

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Cancer comes in many different forms, but the overall process of it is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells dividing and spreading to the surrounding tissues and changing the overall DNA. One of the most common types of cancer is breast cancer and it begins in the cells of the breast; this cancer can occur in both men and women but its more common in women. Most breast cancers start in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple, and others begin in the glands that make the breast milk. The symptoms usually being with a lump in the breast, the size/shape of the breast changing, peeling, crusting, flaking, redness, and much more. The specific causes of this cancer are unknown, but it can be due to a combination of factors like hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental. There are many forms of therapy and ranges from “western” drug options all the way to natural herbal remedies, but it all depends on a person’s preference of treatment.

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Breast Cancer is so common that more than 250,000 new cases occur every year, so it is very important for women to get a diagnostic mammogram every year. There are different types of breast cancer, and some require more intense treatment than others. According to Breast Cancer Treatment, it states, “For nonmetastatic breast cancer, the main goals of therapy are eradicating tumor from the breast and regBreast Cancer Treatmentional lymph nodes and preventing metastatic recurrence. Local therapy for nonmetastatic breast cancer consists of surgical resection and sampling or removal of axillary lymph nodes, with consideration of postoperative radiation” (Waks and Winer, 2019, p. 290). A nonmetastatic tumor is cancer that has not spread from the initial primary site to the rest of the body yet, so the treatment is usually not that intense. Waks and Winer (2019) state, “For metastatic breast cancer, therapeutic goals are prolonging life and symptom palliation. Currently, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable in virtually all affected patients” (Waks and Winer, 2019, p. 290). Metastatic breast cancer is the more severe form and annually takes about 40,000 lives a year. This type of cancer can progress quickly and about 20-30% of women will eventually develop this within their early cancer stages, this is treatable but not curable.

The therapy for nonmetastatic breast cancer consists of many different options from endocrine therapy to tamoxifen, and Waks and Winer (2019) state,

“Endocrine therapy, which counteracts estrogen-promoted tumor growth, is the primary systemic therapy for HR+/ERBB2? breast cancer. Standard endocrine therapy consists of oral antiestrogen medication taken daily for 5 years, and options differ according to menopausal status. Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator that competitively inhibits estrogen’s binding to ER and is effective in both pre- and postmenopausal women” (Waks and Winer, 2019, p. 290).

If a woman stays on Tamoxifen for 5 years, the possibility for breast cancer to reoccur reduce by 50%, and it works by inhibiting the binding of estrogen to the estrogen receptor. For metastatic cancer,

“Early treatment should be endocrine therapy based, typically with incorporation of a cyclin- dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor, such as abemaciclib, palbociclib, or ribociclib, in the first or second line. After resistance develops to the available hormonal options, patients transition to treatment with chemotherapy” (Waks and Winer, 2019, p. 295).

Usually chemotherapy is the only therapeutic option available to patients experiencing this incurable breast cancer. Surgical cancer treatment has also evolved greatly and can used to reduce the long-term alternative therapies. Radiation therapy may also be an option because the radiation can be dispersed throughout the entire breast, chest wall, and lymph nodes. These medical treatments are always available and presented to patients, but there are also more natural and herbal medicine that can be used.

Medicinal herbs and natural remedies are used all the time for relief and cancer treatments. There are many clinical studies reported that have shown the effects and benefits of this type of medicine, and the patient’s quality of life. For example,

“In a randomized controlled trial, 2972 patients with invasive or noninvasive breast carcinoma received either 200?mg of vitamin A preparation (Fenretinide) per day or no therapy. At 97 months posttreatment there was a significant reduction in recurrence of local breast cancer in premenopausal women” (Yin et al, 2013)

This study shows the reduction in breast cancer reoccurring and the specific role of vitamins in the prevention of cancer. As an alternative to tamoxifen therapy, “Soy-derived phytoestrogens are popularly recommended for treating postmenopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer undergoing tamoxifen therapy” (Yin et al, 2013). The soybean extracts the toxins and will confer the weak estrogenic effects. Traditional Chinese medication has also shown to have anti-breast cancer agents as well and is mainly noted for its radioprotection effects during radiotherapy. These herbal medicines are commonly used after a person’s initial treatment in chemotherapy or radiation, and it is basically used as a combination of western and natural therapy. The main goal of natural remedies is to increase quality of life while at the same time decreasing the negative side effects during treatment.

Overall, cancer treatment for an individual will always depend on the tumor type, stage of cancer, and the patient’s preference. There are many opinions on what the best treatment should be and what will be the most successful. Traditional herbal medicines are becoming more known and increasingly used, but medicine practitioners don’t fully accept this practice because they believe in traditional medicine. And on the other hand, many people believe cancer is naturally occurring so the treatments should be natural as well and that is mainly what will work best. I believe every situation is different and everyone’s body will react differently. So, treatment shouldn’t be focused on which one is better, but instead how both of them can be used to help create the best and most realistic outcome for the patient’s health and future.  

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Breast Cancer Treatment. (2021, May 23). Retrieved December 7, 2022 , from

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