Breast Cancer Treatment | Local Vs. Systemic

Over 266,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. While reactions can vary from patient to patient, most feel overwhelmed by the array of breast cancer treatment services available to them. Here's what you need to know if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Are There Different Types of Breast Cancer Treatment?

There are two main types of cancer treatments—local and systemic.

Local treatments target cancer cells in one specific area. They include breast cancer treatment services like surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Surgery is the most common type of local treatment. During surgery, the surgeon removes the cancerous tissue. Radiation therapy uses high-energy, targeted laser beams to kill cancer cells. Finally, targeted therapy uses drugs designed to target cancer cells while ignoring other normal cells in the body.

Systemic treatments, on the other hand, target cancer cells throughout the body. They include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy both kill cancer cells in the body, the former through drugs and the latter by empowering the immune system. Hormone therapy works by blocking hormones that help cancer cells grow.

Both local and systemic treatments have their own benefits and drawbacks. Local treatments are usually more effective at treating early-stage cancers, while systemic treatments are better at treating late-stage cancers. In addition, local treatments often have fewer side effects than systemic treatments. However, systemic treatments are often necessary to completely eliminate cancer from the body. Speak with your doctor to determine which type of treatment is right for you.

Are There Alternative Breast Cancer Treatment Services?

While alternative treatment should always be used in conjunction with traditional medicine, there are plenty of options available to you that can help, including:

  • Healthy diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of cancer. After diagnosis, healthy food can give your body the nutrients it needs to fight back.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can also boost your immune system and improve your overall health.
  • Meditation. Practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques can help you cope with the emotional toll of a breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Acupuncture. Studies have shown that acupuncture may be effective in managing certain types of pain associated with breast cancer treatment services.
  • Complementary therapy. Complementary therapies like massage and aromatherapy can also help you manage your stress levels and minimize side effects from treatment.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of the breast cancer treatment services available to you.