A lumpectomy is a surgery to remove a portion of the breast that displays cancer cells. Your doctor may recommend a lumpectomy if the portion infected is small and has not spread to other parts of the breast.
After a lumpectomy is done, your doctor may still recommend some form of radiation or chemotherapy. These will all depend on the characteristics of the tumour.
A mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast. Your doctor will recommend a mastectomy on occasion if the size of the tumour is large or the patient has displayed high risk of recurrence.
Radiation Therapy uses high-energy radiation from x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
The Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) delivers concentrated dose of radiation therapy during surgery (intra-operative) directly to the site of the tumour when the tumour has just been removed. This reduces side effects and most patients will not need to undergo any additional radiation therapy later.
Under IORT treatment, a patient only undergoes a single dose of radiotherapy, lasting 30 to 40 minutes during the surgery, and thus eliminating the need for additional visits. Since the radiation is delivered precisely to the tumour site in the breast, the surrounding healthy tissue and organs, receive much less radiation exposure than a conventional whole-breast radiation treatment.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs kill fast-growing cells throughout the body, including cancer cells and normal cells.
Hormonal therapy is an effective treatment for most tumours that test positive for either oestrogen or progesterone receptors (called ER positive or PR positive). Hormones can cause breast cancers to grow and so hormone therapy can be used to slow tumour growth.
About 20% to 25% of breast cancers have an excess of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This protein makes tumour cells grow. There might be higher amounts of HER2 in your breast (HER2+). If this is the case, it is called HER2- positive breast cancer. HER2-targeted therapy is drug therapy that treats HER2+ breast cancer.