The treatment of a breast cancer lump depends, in part, on its size and whether it has spread beyond the breast. There are two different ways of treating breast cancer: local and systemic treatments. Local treatments - radiation and surgery - only affect the part of the breast that contains the cancer. Systemic treatments - chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy - affect the entire body because they are injected into a vein or taken by mouth.
Most women who develop breast cancer will have surgery to treat the main breast cancer tumor; other treatments may also be given. The types of surgery are as follows:
1.Lumpectomy, which is also known as breast conservation therapy, involves removing only the lump and some surrounding normal tissue. Radiation treatment generally follows a lumpectomy; chemotherapy may also be given.
2.Partial mastectomy removes more breast tissue than a lumpectomy. Radiation therapy is often given after this surgery.
3.Total mastectomy involves removing the entire breast, but does not remove the lymph nodes under the arms or tissue from beneath the breast.
4.Modified radical mastectomy removes the entire breast and some of the under arm lymph nodes.
5.Radical mastectomy involves removing the entire breast, lymph nodes, and the chest wall muscles located under the breast.
Depending on the stage of the cancer, a breast cancer lump may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. Chemotherapy involves administering anticancer drugs by mouth or injection into the vein. Because the bloodstream carries the drugs throughout the body, it helps to kill breast cancer cells that have spread to distant organs. Radiation therapy involves administering high-energy rays such as x-rays to kill or shrink cancer cells. Hormone therapy involves blocking the effects of estrogen or lowering its levels. This treatment is given to some women because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer lumps in their bodies.
Although there are many breast lumps that are not cancerous, it is important to see a doctor immediately after the discovering a lump. As mentioned earlier a breast cancer lump that can be felt is larger and more likely to have spread beyond the breast to nearby areas such as the chest or under arm, or even spread to distant organs.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a frightening and traumatic experience. However, there are several methods that are used to treat a breast cancer lump - thus prolonging life. The recovery process is difficult and painful, but understanding the nature of the disease and possible treatment methods will help make recovery more manageable.