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Treatments for Breast Cancer

The goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving the as much of the breast and its function. Additional treatment may help to prevent the spread or recurrence of cancer. The treatment plan will often involve a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the cancer, woman's age, general health, and prognosis. Treatment for advanced stages may include management of symptoms for comfort measures.

It is likely you will have a healthcare team that is made up of doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals to help develop best treatment plan possible.

Breast cancer treatment includes:

Lifestyle changesSurgeryRadiation therapyChemotherapyHormonal therapyMedicationsOther treatments

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

Revision Information

  • Breast cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003090-pdf.pdf. Accessed October 26, 2015.

  • Breast cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/breast-disorders/breast-cancer. Updated September 2013. Accessed October 26, 2015.

  • Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 18, 2015. Accessed October 26, 2015.

  • Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-treatment-pdq#section/%5F185. Updated October 22, 2015. Accessed October 26, 2015.