If a patient is diagnosed with cancer, their case is discussed during a multi-disciplinary consultation before and after therapy, to propose the best treatment in line with international recommendations.
Each situation is unique, and there are many types of breast cancer. Treatment is adjusted to suit each patient.
The different types of treatment include:
This is often the first treatment, carried out under general anaesthetic, or sometimes local anaesthetic, depending on the size and spread of the tumour. The surgery is performed under the supervision of an experienced gynaecological surgeon specialising in breast cancer. The aim is partly to entirely remove the tumour, and also to verify if it has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, most often in the armpits. The incision and the scope of the removal depend on the size, location, type of tumour, and size of the breast.
The surgery is «conservative» if only the tumour is removed. «Non-conservative» treatment means that the entire breast is removed. In this case, immediate or deferred breast reconstruction is offered. This is carried out by a plastic surgeon, who works to restore the profile of the original breast, and the symmetry of the bust. This approach is vital for a patient’s body image, and is an integral part of the process. Sometimes, several interventions are necessary to achieve the desired result. The duration of the operation and period of hospitalisation depend on the reconstruction selected.
This is an active drug therapy against cancer cells. It destroys them or prevents them from multiplying. There are various different medicines that act differently, depending on the cells they target and the type of cancer.
The doctor providing chemotherapy treatment is an oncologist or a cancer specialist.
This treatment allows us to:
- reduce the size of the tumour and facilitate surgery if chemotherapy is administered beforehand
- treat tumours that have spread beyond the breast
- prevent recurrence after surgical treatment
Chemotherapy is normally administered intravenously (using a drip), but it can also be given orally.
Several cycles of chemotherapy are offered. They can be administered in a clinic or your doctor’s office. The complete treatment continues over several weeks or months, and every cycle is followed by a period of rest.
Side effects are common and vary greatly in intensity; but they are only temporary, and can be managed effectively.
Targeted therapies allow your medical team to adapt the treatment precisely to the cancer cells of a given tumour.
The doctor providing targeted therapy treatment is an oncologist or a cancer specialist.
This treatment is prescribed for most patients, especially for those who had conservative breast surgery.
A doctor specialising in radiotherapy manages this treatment.
Radiation therapy is meant to prevent cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. If the surgery has already taken place, the aim is to destroy any remaining cancer cells in the area and to reduce the risk of relapse.
Only one precise and clearly defined area is irradiated. Special care is taken to preserve healthy tissue. This means that side-effects are limited as much as possible.
Radiotherapy sessions last several minutes and are repeated almost daily for several weeks.
This is a drug therapy, prescribed by an oncologist or a cancer specialist.
Hormone therapy makes it possible to stop the growth of cancer cells that may remain after other treatments have been administered.
It is a long-term oral treatment typically given over five to ten years, depending on the type of cancer and the patient’s tolerance of potential side-effects.