Treating Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Bangladesh. It is more common among women of post-menopausal age. However, it is not surprising if women between the ages of 15-49 is diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that more than 508,000 women died in 2011 due to breast cancer.  Most deaths take place in developing countries as compared to high income countries.

October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, also known as Pinktober. We take the opportunity this month to spread awareness about breast cancer, its symptoms, detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. Doctors always advise to perform a self-check upon oneself to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage. This is when the treatment is most effective. 

In this article, we will talk about breast cancer treatments, and post breast cancer treatment care:

  1. Lumpectomy: Lumpectomy is a surgery where the abnormal tissue, lump, or tumour is removed from the breast. This surgery is performed when the cancer is detected at an early stage. In some cases, lumpectomy is followed by radiation therapy to make sure the chances of the cancer returning is minimised.
  2. Mastectomy: Mastectomy is a treatment that involves the removal of the breast to prevent breast cancer from developing. The experience of undergoing mastectomy can be traumatising for many as it modifies a major part of one’s body. In such cases, it is important for the partner, family members and loved ones to provide support with love and words of kindness.
  3. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is the use of high energy waves targeted at the cancer cells. It is followed by reactions on your skin that is similar to sunburn, along with itching, burning, peeling and soreness. 
  4. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for breast cancer. It uses drugs that are directly injected into the vein with a needle, or given as a pill. This method carries the risk of various side effects, the most common one being one’s hair gradually falling off. This often leads to emotional disturbance within the patient, but once the period of treatment is over, the hair may grow back again. At all times, it is important for family members to provide emotional support. 

After the treatment of breast cancer is over, there is a small chance that the cancer might return. This is known as recurrence. Therefore doctors always suggest patients to be aware of any kind of changes in the body, and to test the body for cancers on a regular basis.



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