Understanding Treatment Options for
Breast Cancers

Once diagnosed, breast cancer can be treated in various ways. Whether you have been newly diagnosed, or have been undergoing treatment for a while, it is normal to be confused and have a lot of questions. An important first step is to understand your disease better. Read more

Next, it can be helpful to understand your diagnosis and the stage of your cancer. This information is critical, as it helps determine the treatment options that are available to you. Refer to this section to understand your cancer diagnosis and for more information about how breast cancer is staged. Read more

Treatments for Breast Cancer

Once you have met with your primary physician and clinical care team, it can help to learn more about each of the treatment options they have prescribed for you. There are a variety of methods used to treat breast cancer. Some (such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy) are currently being used for treatment, and some (such as clinical trials) are experimental in nature. Treatments for breast cancer can be either:

  • Localized (targeting cancerous cells in one area of the body), or
  • Systemic (targeting cancerous cells throughout the body)
Type of Treatment Nature of Treatment Nature of Treatment
Localized
Invasive
Generally performed once
Localized
Can be invasive or non-invasive
Typically administered over many sessions
Systemic
Can be invasive or non-invasive
Typically administered over many cycles
Systemic
Can be invasive or non-invasive
    Typically prescribed as:
  • oral tablets to be taken daily for a certain duration, or
  • a series of injections over many cycles, or
  • a specific surgical procedure
Systemic
Non-invasive
Typically administered over many cycles
Systemic
Non-invasive
Typically administered over many cycles
Depends on the trial
Depends on the trial
Depends on the trial

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