What to Know About Breast Cancer and its Treatment- Part Two
No one wants to have their doctor give them the diagnosis of breast cancer. But, if this is the case it is important that they are well informed and have the best possible medical care. Here are the things a breast cancer patient should be aware of:
Be sure You have a good doctor.
A breast screening specialist should spend at least half of his time doing these screenings. Those doing breast imaging at least once a week would have a better record, and affiliation with academic medical centers are even better still.
The age of the doctor is a major component. If the doctor was trained after 1981 he is more apt to do a lumpectomy which is the removal of a tumor and some of the tissue surrounding it where older doctors might not.
Ask the right questions.
- Which hospitals have cancer programs and what doctors are affiliated with them.
- Should I change my lifestyle or my diet?
- Will I have chemo with hormone therapy and where will I go for it ?
- How long will treatment last and can I drive myself home afterwards?
- What are the risks?
- What will be the side effects?
- Should I avoid anything during the treatments?
- Why do you recommend this therapy?
- The important question is if you are a candidate for this partial mastectomy or lumpectomy? Don't stop there. If you aren't you need to know why.
The second opinion.
The more experienced surgeon that treats a lot of breast cancer, or those that work in a university-affiliated hospitals or cancer clinics are going to be more apt to recommend a lumpectomy. Breast conserving surgery is something that is only slowly beginning to be used in local hospitals.
Referrals versus networking.
Networking and doing your homework means the difference between getting treatment from an experienced surgeon instead of who you might be referred to. A surgeon in a hospital with a cancer program is the ideal choice.
Finishing the treatment.
After a lumpectomy a patient must be sure to take the full course of treatment recommended. It is usually for five days each week for six weeks. Cancer recurrence is seen in about 25% of cases because patients do not follow through with the radiation treatments after surgery.
Both mastectomy and lumpectomy alter your appearance to some degree. About half of doctors will send a patient to a plastic surgeon for a consultation. You can discuss with this surgeon how your clothing will fit and how your breast will look so you know what to expect. Another option is to consult a surgeon who does oncoplasty which is a procedure that removes tumors and can reshape the breast tissue to improve its look.
Depending on how advanced the cancer is, surgery to remove a portion of the breast and is the popular option. Biological therapy involves drugs that help the body fight the cancer by helping the immune system. Natural therapy including vitamins A, C, and D as well as lycopene, ginger and probiotics help with side effects. Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells and this would depend on the type and stage of your cancer.
Talk to a radiation oncologist before getting the surgery. Don't feel as if you are pressured to make any decisions. They can tell you what your energy level may be like and what the side effects will be. Being knowledgeable and knowing the options can help you to make the right decisions for you.
Have written online for more than eight years now on many subjects. Also write under the username of Eve Sherrill York.