One of the areas that has been improved upon and expanded in breast cancer treatment is the use of drugs. The only drug treatments that used to be used were chemotherapy and hormone treatments.
Over the past few years, researchers have discovered drugs that have shown a lot of promise, and results, when it comes to treating breast cancer. For women with breast cancer who have too much of the protein HER2 in their system, the drug Herceptin has been shown to to be effective.
HER2 can quicken the growth of tumors, and Herceptin will attach itself to HER2 and kill cancer cells. Studies have shown that HER2 will normally leave healthy cells alone, thus making it safe to use along with chemotherapy.
These two treatments used together can produce much better results than chemotherapy alone for women with excess HER2, and can even increase the life span of women whose breast cancer is in the terminal stages.
Other fairly new drugs, such as Taxotere, Xeloda, and Nolvadex, have been showing great promise in breast cancer treatment. Many of the new drugs, when used in combinations, can slow the progression of breast cancer, or eliminate it entirely.
Increasingly, women with breast cancer are opting for lumpectomies instead of radical mastectomies. Doctors have found that in many cases a lumpectomy, which only removes the cancer cells and some of the surrounding tissue, can be effective when the cancer is still localized in one area.
The main thing to remember if you find out that you have breast cancer is that new treatments are being discovered all of the time, and it is up to you to take an active role in fighting the disease by staying informed on the various options available.
If one doctor suggests one type of treatment, it is reasonable and even necessary, to obtain a second or third opinion. Do your own research; don’t just depend on what you are told.
Talk to your doctor about any new treatments that you read about or hear about, and make sure that he or she is receptive to discussing your options.