CommunityHealth Fix


HealthFix: Breast cancer treatment options

Posted at 12:47 PM, Sep 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-18 14:48:16-04

There are several different treatment options for people diagnosed with breast cancer. Some treatments can be used alone, while others are combined. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important to learn about each option and consult with your doctor before making a final decision.

Breast Cancer Treatment Options:


In most cases, patients with breast cancer will receive surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from the breast tissue. Additionally, some of the lymph nodes may be removed for biopsy and reduce the risk of metastasis. There are varying surgical options depending on the type and size of the cancer.

- Lumpectomy
- Partial mastectomy
- Total mastectomy
- Modified radical mastectomy


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to either kill the cancer cells or stop them from dividing. Chemotherapy drugs can be swallowed or administered intravenously, which spreads the drugs throughout the body (systemic). Or, chemotherapy drugs can be placed directly into a body cavity or organ to affect cancer cells in the area (regional).

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy—external radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy. During external radiation therapy, radiation is directed toward the cancerous region from a machine outside of the body. With internal radiation therapy, a radioactive substance is placed directly into or near the cancer.

Breast Brachytherapy

During breast brachytherapy, an implanted radiation source delivers a targeted dose of radiation to a lumpectomy site within the breast. Brachytherapy may be used alone or in addition to other treatment methods.

SAVI Device

With the SAVI device, doctors can deliver a stronger amount of radiation to a more precise location over a shorter period of time. During the procedure, the device is implanted into the lumpectomy site. The applicator has a unique multi-catheter design, which enables the surgeon to pinpoint radiation where it is needed most, while minimizing radiation exposure to normal tissue. The device is even removed following each treatment, ensuring that radiation exposure is minimized.

Hormone Therapy

During hormone therapy, hormones are removed or their actions are blocked in order to stop fueling the cancer cells’ growth. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If the cancer cells within the breast have hormone receptors, surgery, drugs, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to identify cancer cells and attack them without harming healthy cells. In patients with breast cancer, monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors are the two types of targeted therapies used. Targeted therapies are commonly used as adjuvant therapies.

Salt Lake Regional Medical Center