Breast cancer treatment
A patient generally first goes through a staging process to see if s/he can benefit from local treatment. Staging makes use of clinical, imaging and pathological assessment to make a best guess by the physician. If the cancer has spread beyond the breast and the lymph nodes then it is classified as Stage 4 or metastatic cancer and requires mostly systemic treatment.
Medical specialty professional organizations recommend against a physician's use of PET scans, CT scans, or bone scans when staging early breast cancer with low risk for metastasis.The rationale is that there is no evidence which shows that extra testing results in better outcomes for a patient, but a patient who does receive tests against the consensus of professionals in the field is more likely to receive invasive procedures, overutilization of medical services, unnecessary radiation exposure, and experience misdiagnosis.
Breast cancer treatment takes different approaches depending on the conditions. The mainstay of breast cancer treatment is surgery when the tumor is localized, followed by chemotherapy (when indicated), radiotherapy, and, for ER-positive tumours, adjuvant hormonal therapy (with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor). Management of breast cancer is undertaken by a multidisciplinary team based on national and international guidelines. Depending on clinical criteria (age, type of cancer, size, presence or absence of metastasis) patients are roughly divided to high risk and low risk cases, with each risk category following different rules for therapy. Treatment possibilities include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immune therapy.
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