Breast cancer kills much more women than you can possibly assume. As women are generally lax towards taking prompt action against symptoms, the disease is mostly discovered much after the tumour has spread far and wide. Metastasis of breast cancer occurs when the cancer has spread from the breast to nearby organs like the liver and lungs and also the lymph nodes which carry the cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Once the cancer has metastasised, it becomes tough to save the life of the patient, even with rigorous treatment. The best treatment method is decided after careful study of the metastasis which will be different for each patient. Here are some of the options that can be considered for metastasis of breast cancer.
How To Treat Breast Cancer Metastasis
Chemo Drugs for Metastasis
When cancer metastasises to other organs of the body, there arises a need for destruction of the cancer cells that have spread throughout the body. Surgery and radiation cannot do this as they are targeted towards a certain area.
Chemotherapy drugs are used in such cases to reach the length and breadth of the body. The drugs are administered intravenously and also as oral pills.
However, the administration of chemotherapy drugs is not without side effects. They destroy the healthy cells in the body as well and cause the patient to become very weak under the influence.
Chemotherapy is given for patients who do not respond to hormonal therapy or have cancer that is hormone receptor negative or when the cancer metastasises to the lungs and liver.
Breast cancer is a hormone related cancer and thrive under hormone production. Therefore, it is important to inhibit the production of estrogen hormones in the body through hormone therapy. Treatments with tamoflexin, fluoxymesterone and megestrol are normally undertaken for patients who are in the pre menopausal stage.
There is also a treatment that facilitates the shutdown of the ovaries, thereby stopping estrogen production. There are other treatment options as well which you can consider like toremifene, letrozole, fulvestrant, anastrozole, exemestane etc.
Herceptin for HER2/neu Metastasis
For metastatic breast cancer that is her2/neu positive, a targeted treatment known as herceptin is tried. The cells of the patient that produces excess amounts of her2/neu protein which helps in the reproduction of cancerous cells are blocked by herceptin, thereby preventing the spread of breast cancer.
Being a targeted treatment method, it does not destroy many healthy cells as in the case of chemotherapy. Herceptin is administered intravenously, alone or in a combination of other medications like paclitaxel, vinorelbine etc.
As metastasis can sometimes be difficult to treat with conventional methods, clinical trials can be tried by patients who do not have any other option. Here, new inventions in cancer treatment are tested on patients. It may or may not deliver good results.
Alternative medicines are administered as a way to offer palliative care to the patient. This is mainly for pain control and general relief from discomfort. The methods include, acupuncture, herbal medicines, homeopathy, massage therapy, vitamin therapy, yoga, hypnosis, relaxation techniques etc.