The most common forms of breast cancer are hormone-receptor positive (estrogen and/or progesterone). The goal of endocrine (hormonal) therapy is to reduce the amount of estrogen available to those cancer cells.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells that may still exist after surgery. It is a local, targeted treatment.
The goal is to destroy undetectable cancer cells in a localized area, which should reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Your treatment will be overseen by a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation therapy.
Once upon a time – back in Betty Ford days and earlier – a breast cancer diagnosis had one surgical option: mastectomy, the complete removal of the affected breast. There was no choice.
However longevity averages are not improved by mastectomy, single or double, for all but a small percentage of women. Today, breast conserving surgery, a lumpectomy, is usually recommended.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a woman faces a mountain of choices about treatment.
Lumpectomy or mastectomy? Reconstruction or flat? Chemotherapy? Radiation? Estrogen-blocking medicine?
Wouldn’t it be great to have our own personal Minority Report? A service that could predict cancer that will spread and kill (rather than people who will commit a crime in the future).