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Treatment of Breast Cancer

Different modalities can be used for treatment of breast cancer. Age, health and the extent of disease are considered for deciding the mode of treatment. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are treatments of breast cancer. Many times, doctor suggests more than one therapy. Cancer Surgeon, Cancer Physician, Radiotherapist or general surgeon who has experience of treating breast cancer may help you to finalize the treatment.



Surgery is the most important part of breast cancer treatment. Two types of surgery can performed.

  • The whole breast and (axillary) lymph nodes from arm pit are removed.
  • The lump along with normal tissue around is removed instead of the whole breast. Axillary lymph nodes of that side are also removed. After this surgery, radiation is usually recommended.

After the surgery of breast cancer it is advisable to do regular dressings till it heals completely.


  • Radiation is recommended when the lump along with normal tissue around is removed leaving the remaining breast intact.
  • After removal of large, localized cancer of breast or when there are more than 3 lymph nodes are involved by cancer, radiation to chest and axilla and neck may be needed.
  • When the cancer spreads to the bone; radiation is used to control the disease and reduce the pain.


In chemotherapy, specific drugs (chemicals) are used to destroy cancer cells. Multiple drugs are usually used when breast cancer is treated by chemotherapy. Drugs are given orally or intravenously. They reach every part of the body except the brain.

Chemotherapy is a course of drugs given at regular intervals. There is a period of rest after the course. The same medications are repeated after the periods of rest. She may be admitted in the hospital depending on her health status and the nature of drugs used.

Hormonal Therapy

A group of hormones named estrogen are secreted from ovaries of woman. Sometimes estrogen is helpful to growth of breast cancer cells. With hormonal therapy this effect of estrogen on breast cancer is prevented. Occasionally ovaries may be removed by surgery., This will lead to reduced availability of estrogen. Thus the growth of breast cancer is prevented and cancer is controlled. Hormonal therapy also affects other parts of the body.

Tamoxiphen is the commonest used drug for additional hormonal treatment. It is useful to control disease in receptor (estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor) positive patients. Aromitase inhibitors are other group of drug which has similar effect like tamoxiphen. Anastrozol is a promising new drug which has shown good early results. Its results of five years are better than tamoxiphen It appears that it continues to be better than tamoxiphen as adjuvant treatment.


During chemotherapy, do not take any drugs without consulting your doctor


  • It is advisable not to get pregnant during the treatment of breast cancer.
  • Do not use contraceptive pill during the treatment.
  • Copper T or condom may be used to prevent pregnancy.
  • Consult your doctor for the use of contraceptive devices.
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