Gentler treatment of breast cancer - How the breast is preserved

Gentler treatment of breast cancer - How the breast is preserved

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Breast cancer can be treated more gently today than just a few decades ago, writes the pharmacy survey. Interventions using surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are often no longer necessary. Many patients go through treatments that are as short as they are gentle - with the same healing success.

A new method could save thousands of women from chemotherapy. For example, anti-hormone treatment that slows cancer growth is replacing chemotherapy with immense side effects in some women today. According to the pharmacy survey, other affected people should have less breast tissue removed after chemotherapy.

More individual and targeted

Doctors specializing in breast medicine emphasize that the treatment of breast cancer is considerably less radical today than it was 30 years ago. It is still extremely stressful for those affected - physically and mentally. But today it is more specifically tailored to the individual case, as the note in the current article.

Reluctance to adopt new therapies

Meanwhile, patients like doctors sometimes have doubts whether anti-hormone therapy works just as well as the outpatient chemotherapy. This skepticism has nothing to do with the chances of a cure.

Breast cancer is not a death sentence today

Breast cancer is no longer a death sentence today, even if it comes back after successful therapy. According to the German Cancer Society, 90 percent of patients are still alive five years after treatment and 80 percent ten years later. These are considered cured.

Breast cancer rate increases, death rate decreases

Although the rate of breast cancer increases, with around 70,000 cases per year in Germany, the death rate continues to decrease.

Where does the number of cases come from?

The higher rate of patients, as strange as it seems at first glance, is a success of modern medicine: On the one hand, more women get cancer because women generally get older. That means they develop breast cancer at an age when they probably wouldn't have been alive decades ago. On the other hand, screening programs identify early stages of breast cancer more often than in the past.

Operations are often unavoidable

Healing cancer means removing all tumor cells from the body. If a tumor has not yet spread, the best way to do it is to remove it surgically.

Breast is usually preserved

30 years ago, surgery meant that the patient's entire breast was removed. Today, this is no longer necessary for over 70 percent of those affected. Firstly, this is because tumors are discovered earlier, and secondly, operations can also be performed in such a way that women retain a respectable breast, even with larger tumors.

Lymph nodes removed less frequently

Today, only one or a few lymph nodes near the tumor are removed, previously there were many. The chances of recovery do not decrease, but the quality of life increases. Because removing the lymph nodes can lead to swelling, numbness and painful edema.

Not always chemotherapy

Chemotherapy often leads to severe side effects. They remove cancer cells from the blood throughout the body, but they also attack non-overgrowth cells. Side effects include numbness in the hands and feet, hair loss, vomiting and an inflamed oral mucosa. Today chemotherapy is therefore no longer the first means.

The multi-test for breast cancer also enables the targeted use of chemotherapy. If a tumor does not divide quickly, does not exceed a certain size, and has not spread, a tissue sample can be examined using a gene expression test. Anti-hormone therapy can often replace the chemotherapy associated with serious side effects. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: Having radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer (October 2022).