Treating Breast Cancer: Adjuvant Therapy
For more information, talk to your healthcare team or support network.
You and your healthcare provider will discuss your treatment options. Weigh all of your options before deciding which is best for you. Your plan may call for one or more types of adjuvant therapy. These are treatments used in addition to surgery.
This treatment uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Most often, radiation therapy is used to kill stray cancer cells that may remain in the breast after surgery. It also helps prevent breast cancer from returning in any part of your body. If you've had a lumpectomy, you'll probably also have radiation therapy.
This treatment is medication that attacks cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given before surgery, after surgery, or on its own. It's also used to help prevent breast cancer from returning anywhere in your body. Depending on the size of your tumor and where it has spread, your healthcare provider will decide if chemotherapy is right for you.
This kind of therapy attacks cancer cells throughout the body. It is used with patients whose cancer sells respond to estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones are normally made by the body. With cancer, the hormones bind to special sites (receptors) on the cancer cells, causing them to grow into tumors. To treat these types of tumors, two kinds of medications may be used:
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), such as tamoxifen: During treatment, these medications bind to the receptors on the cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from dividing.
Aromatase inhibitors, such as anastrozole: These reduce the body's production of estrogens. With less estrogen to bind with, cancer cells are less likely to grow.