Being told that you have breast cancer is scary, but with early detection, treatment can be quite successful. The five-year survival rate of breast cancer patients across all stages is 90%. This high percentage is believed to be the result of improved medical care and early diagnosis through screening.
Take a deep breath because we are going to talk about what to expect from treatment and how to best prepare yourself for the journey.
1) How does breast cancer develop?
Breast cells can mutate or change unnaturally and reproduce without control or order to eventually form a tumor. A tumor may be benign, which means it is slow-growing and non-lethal, or it can be malignant, meaning cancerous. Malignant tumors are regarded as dangerous due to their rapid growth and propensity to spread to other parts of the body.
2) What should I expect from surgery?
Your doctor will prescribe the right surgical path for you based off the severity of your cancer. Often breast cancer surgeons will recommend a mastectomy which is the removal of the entire breast. However, there are 3 types of potential breast cancer surgeries:
lumpectomy -the most typical surgical procedure for breast cancer in its early stages is a lumpectomy. The surgeon will do a lumpectomy to remove the tumor and some nearby tissue.
Mastectomy– This procedure, which involves removing the entire breast, is typically performed on patients with advanced breast cancer.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy– This procedure involves removing lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread to nearby tissue.
3) What should I expect from chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a common course of treatment in breast cancer, and it can sometimes be in combination with other treatments like radiation and surgery. Chemotherapy is a drug that is administered into the vein and can target fast growing cancer cells. Chemotherapy does come with many side effects such as diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, and unwanted weight loss.
4) What should I expect from radiation therapy?
Radiation is performed by targeting high energy particles at the tumor to help shrink, kill, and reduce pain. Radiation is usually combined with chemotherapy and surgery.
Radiation can cause skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.
5) What should I expect from hormone therapy?
Hormone therapy is the process of blocking or reducing the production of hormones, like estrogen, that help to grow breast cancer.
Some potential side effects of hormone therapy are hot flashes, bone and muscle pain, mood swings, fatigue, and nausea.
6) What to expect from targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a type of drug that searches and destroys the cancer cells by targeting the proteins that are on the cancer cell to help kill them or slow their growth. Some targeted therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, work to suppress cancer while also boosting the immune system, making this drug similar to immunotherapy.
Some side effects to be aware of when receiving targeted therapy are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
7) How can I reduce treatment side effects?
Treatment side effects can be managed in numerous ways.
If you get diarrhea and nausea, try eating smaller meals.
Drink plenty of water before and throughout treatment to stay hydrated and reduce side effects.
Suck on Ginger candies to ease nausea and dry mouth.
Try drinking enterade. enterade supports in the managing of GI side effects associated with cancer treatment, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dehydration, and unwanted weight loss.
enterade is a clinically proven, plant-based, medical food that helps to manage the side effects of cancer treatment. Using Hydro Active Technology, enterade is formulated to hydrate better water. enterade’s unique blend of plant-based amino acids helps by rebuilding the cells that line your intestines, fortifying your gut against the damage caused by cancer treatments.