Popular Treatments for Breast Cancer

In recent years, there has been an interest in exploring alternative treatments that are best used in adjunct with traditional treatments for breast cancer, not in replacement of traditional treatments.

When you or a loved one are diagnosed with breast cancer, the thought can be terrifying. In my experience, the first “c-word” people fear is the word cancer. But once the diagnosis has been made, and before they are told about treatment options, the next “c-word” people fear is chemotherapy. Fortunately, not all breast cancer patients require chemotherapy as part of their treatment. The treatment of breast cancer is often with multiple modalities including surgery, radiation, and possibly chemotherapy, endocrine therapy and/or immunotherapy. Alternative therapies are best used in addition to these options, not in replacement.

If you have read this far, you are likely interested in an aggressive approach to treating breast cancer and realize that conventional treatments alone may not be the only answer for you.

What exactly is cancer?

Cancer cells are always being created in the body. The body has multiple defense mechanisms to stop the progress of these cancer cells dividing at the DNA level, as well as using the immune system to seek out and destroy these cancer cells.

Cancer is not a mysterious disease that suddenly attacks you out of the blue. It develops out of a chain of events that occur at the cellular level and by the time it is diagnosed, has been present for typically several years.

Cancer has been occurring as long as time and previously may not have been recognized as “cancer” for a number of reasons. It was very likely advanced when symptoms occurred, and people would just die of the aggressive disease process. Also, people did not live as long as they do now, and it is very likely that people would die of other causes before cancer could develop or before cancer took their lives. Finally, imaging and diagnostic techniques were very rudimentary prior to the 20th century and cancers were not often diagnosed until they were glaringly obvious.

For these reasons, it appears that only in the second half of the 20th century did the number of cancer cases diagnosed skyrocket. Some also believe that another contributing factor to this are the use of toxins, pollutants, and chemicals we are exposed to, high-stress lifestyles, lack of sleep, poor quality food, pesticides, foods that are irradiated and now genetically modified, pathogens. The thought is that all of these weaken the immune system and the body’s other naturally-occurring cancer-fighting mechanisms, promoting the growth of cancer cells.

Cancer cells begin as normal cells that develop mutations, or DNA changes, allowing them to escape the mechanisms that typically destroy them. Certain chemicals, pesticides, certain types of radiation and other toxins can cause these changes in DNA, or generate free radicals that damage DNA, promoting certain kinds of cancer.

Surviving cancer involves treating the known disease and eliminating the causes as best as possible. The exact cause may not be known, however, in many cases.

The best thing you can do during treatment is to eat high-protein but balanced meals, walk or exercise, get enough sleep and try to keep life as normal as possible. After treatment, try to continue your healthy lifestyle and make those changes permanent. Some of the alternative treatments to use in addition to conventional treatments are listed below.

  1. Deep breathing exercises

  2. Increase powerful antioxidants in your diet

  3. Reduce stress

  4. Get plenty of rest and sleep

The post Popular Treatments for Breast Cancer appeared first on Dr. Lindsay Keith | Surgical Breast Oncologist | Breast Cancer Surgeon | Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Source: https://lindsaykeith.com/popular-treatments-for-breast-cancer/

What is a Mastectomy?

Mastectomy – a mastectomy is the removal of all breast tissue, as defined by anatomic boundaries of the breast. The most common reason for this procedure is a treatment of breast cancer, but there are other reasons that this procedure may be needed. For example, when a woman is diagnosed with a gene mutation that increases their lifetime risk of breast cancer, a mastectomy can be done prophylactically as a risk-reducing procedure, to avoid a breast cancer diagnosis in the future.

A mastectomy can be done with or without reconstruction or rebuilding a “breast”, which can be done in several ways. If no reconstruction is desired or even recommended, typically due to other health problems, the breast tissue and the excess skin is removed to make the chest flat with a single scar.

If reconstruction is desired, there are three basic ways that a mastectomy can be done to facilitate breast reconstruction, which is often begun on the same day as the mastectomy, during the same surgery.

The first way to do this is called a skin-sparing mastectomy and removes all of the breast tissue and the nipple-areolar complex (nipple projection, all ductal tissue, and the surrounding pigmented skin), but leaves the rest of the skin and subcutaneous fat to facilitate placement of a tissue expander or breast implant. This removes as much breast tissue as possible, while still allowing for breast reconstruction.

The second way to do this is called an areolar-sparing mastectomy and removes only the nipple projection (including the ductal tissue) and leaves the pigmented areolar skin and the rest of the breast skin as well, again to facilitate placement of a tissue expander or implant.

The third way to do this is called a nipple-sparing mastectomy, and removes only the breast tissue, leaving the nipple projection with potentially a very small amount of ductal tissue, surrounding pigmented areolar skin and the rest of the breast skin to facilitate placement of a tissue expander or implant.

Incision locations are variable for each of these types of mastectomies and are dependent on your surgeons’ preference, your breast size and degree of ptosis or “sagging”, which will determine how likely the nipple will survive and/or be in the correct place after the mastectomy and reconstruction.

The post What is a Mastectomy? appeared first on Dr. Lindsay Keith | Surgical Breast Oncologist | Breast Cancer Surgeon | Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Source: https://lindsaykeith.com/what-is-a-mastectomy/

Will My Breast Cancer Come Back?

Reducing The Risk Of Breast Cancer Recurrence After Surgery With Endocrine Therapy

More than 215,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. For many of them, surgery to remove the tumor is just the first step in the battle against the disease, and may be followed by radiation, chemotherapy, or endocrine therapy, which are all “adjuvant therapies”. After surgery, women will decide along with their doctors, which adjuvant therapies are right for them, to help prevent their cancer from coming back.

When a woman’s breast cancer does come back or spreads to other parts of the body, she may be at greater risk of dying from the disease. Women whose breast cancer is detected in the lymph nodes at diagnosis requiring chemotherapy before or after surgery are considered to be at the greatest risk for breast cancer recurrence.

Women whose breast cancer is hormone-sensitive (estrogen or progesterone receptor positive) have an option to take endocrine medication (also called anti-estrogen or hormone therapy) following surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) for pre- and postmenopausal women and aromatase inhibitors (AI) for postmenopausal women for this use. A panel from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the country’s leading group of oncologists, recommends endocrine therapy as part of the optimal adjuvant treatment for this group of women.

“One of the greatest fears confronted by women who have been treated for early breast cancer is that their cancer will come back. With Femara, we now have an option that can help address that fear early on, even in patients who we know face the greatest risk of recurrence,” said Matthew Ellis, MD, PhD, FRCP, director of the Breast Cancer Program at Washington University in St. Louis, when Femara (letrozole, an AI) was introduced.

In a large clinical study of post-surgery breast cancer treatment, researchers compared the effectiveness of Femara and Tamoxifen (a SERM), another drug prescribed after surgery, in postmenopausal women. An analysis performed after 26 months showed that Femara reduced the risk of breast cancer coming back by 21% over the reduction offered by Tamoxifen. Patients taking Femara also showed a 27 percent reduction in the risk of the cancer spreading to distant parts of the body.

In this study, women at increased risk of recurrence experienced the greatest benefit from Femara. Femara lowered this risk by 29 percent in women whose breast cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis and by 30 percent in women who had prior chemotherapy. The results also showed that in these high-risk women, Femara reduced the risk of cancer spreading to distant parts of the body by 33 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

In this study, Femara was generally well tolerated with the most common side effects including hot flashes, joint pain, night sweats, weight gain and nausea.

Tips for Living Healthy

Discuss postsurgery treatment options with your oncologist. Whether you’re one, five or ten years beyond your diagnosis, taking care of your overall health and well-being can also reduce your risk of cancer coming back and give you the energy to do the things in life that you love.

• Practice good nutrition

• Exercise regularly

• Tap into a support network

• Take time out for yourself

Editors Note: Important safety information

Aromatase Inhibitors are approved for the adjuvant (following surgery) treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor−positive breast cancer.

You should not take AIs or SERMs if you are pregnant as it may cause fetal harm. You must be postmenopausal to take AIs. Until you know how it affects you, use caution before driving or operating machinery. There is an increase in cholesterol in patients on AIs versus Tamoxifen (5.4% vs. 1.2%).

In the adjuvant setting, commonly reported side effects were generally mild to moderate. Side effects seen in AIs versus Tamoxifen included hot flashes (33.7% vs. 38%), joint pain (21.2% vs. 13.5%), night sweats (14.1% vs. 13.5%), weight gain (10.7% vs. 12.9%) and nausea (9.5% vs. 10.4%). Other side effects seen were bone fractures and osteoporosis. Your prescribing doctor will monitor your health while taking these medications.

The post Will My Breast Cancer Come Back? appeared first on Dr. Lindsay Keith | Surgical Breast Oncologist | Breast Cancer Surgeon | Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Source: https://lindsaykeith.com/will-my-breast-cancer-come-back/

Radio Interview with WGNS News Radio

Breast Cancer: Dr. Lindsey KeithDr. Lindsay Keith discusses breast cancer in a local radio interview and also answers caller questions. She answers questions about prevention and what to do if you think you have breast cancer. She also discusses the fact that men can get breast cancer.


For more info go to WGNS Radio

The post Radio Interview with WGNS News Radio appeared first on Dr. Lindsay Keith | Surgical Breast Oncologist | Breast Cancer Surgeon | Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Source: https://lindsaykeith.com/radio-interview-wgns-news-radio/