Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer

by Sam Malone


Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is a kind of treatment that is given to a patient after primary therapy. Adjuvant therapy is generally carried out to ensure that cancer is completely eliminated and does not recur. Adjuvant literally means to contribute or to help. Adjuvant breast cancer therapy uses any one or a combination of treatments to completely remove cancerous cells and thus helps or contributes to primary therapy. These treatments would include radiation, chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapy or hormone therapy and these are used to remove any cancerous cells that may have been missed during surgery. Primary therapy, which is followed by adjuvant therapy, is the main method of treating a cancer. Primary therapy generally involves a surgery which may either require a complete removal of the breast (mastectomy) or a removal of only the cancerous tumor in the breast. Adjuvant therapy helps make primary therapy more effective and helps in reducing the risk of recurrence. Furthermore, adjuvant therapy is very effective in destroying cancer cells that may have spread to the other areas of the body. These cells cannot even be detected with the help of laboratory tests or imaging technologies. Adjuvant therapy thus helps protect a person’s health by aiding in the complete removal of cancerous cells and prevents the condition from recurring. Ensure that you consult your physician about the potential advantages and disadvantages of pursuing adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. It is important to ensure that the treatment is suited to your specific needs and this will in turn determine the ideal nature of treatment for you. Also remember to ask your physician for information about the nature of the side effects of such treatment. There are many kinds of adjuvant therapies but most of these therapies are systemic. Such treatments or therapy include the use of substances that reaches all parts of the body which are affected by cancer by traveling through the bloodstream.

Adjuvant therapy may include adjuvant chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. Adjuvant therapy generally uses a combination of drugs to completely eliminate cancerous cells. This type of adjuvant treatment is especially effective in treating early-stage breast cancer. Hormonal therapy in adjuvant breast cancer therapy deprives the cells in the breast of the estrogen hormone. Cancerous cells thrive on estrogen and once estrogen production is stopped, they can no longer grow. This helps prevent the recurrence of cancerous cells and discourages the growth of new ones.


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