The treatment for metastatic breast cancer depend on the size of tumors and how much they have spread. Common treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapies. These treatments are used either alone or combined. None of them will cure metastatic breast cancer, but they can slow down the process and reduce or eliminate symptoms.
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Radiation is applied to a certain part of the body, generally the brain or a bone, in order to reduce the tumors as well as the pane. When it is given to the bone, it also decreases the risk of bone fracture. Chemotherapy is a medication treatment with anticancer drugs given either through veins or orally to kill cancer cells. Hormone therapy includes hormone pills instead of or in addition to chemotherapy. This type of treatment is mainly used for older women or the ones with other medical conditions as well. Another treatment option for metastatic breast cancer is immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system.
Most patients take medicines to reduce the pain. For more severe pain, the medication treatment generally includes narcotics. However, these pills do not cause addiction and when the pain in relieved, the need for taking them will also fade out.
How Long Can the Effects Last?
How long can you keep the disease under control depends on how much has the cancer spread. Proper treatment can sometimes control metastatic breast cancer for several years.
What Can You Do?
• There are also a few things you can do on your own to maximize the effects of the treatment:
• Follow the treatment plan carefully an rest often.
• Have breast or chest self-exams regularly and report any unusual changes. Do a breast exam every month, preferably at the end of your menstruation or the first day of the months if you don’t have a menstrual cycle.
• Ask the doctor to prescribe you an exercise to follow once you have finished the treatment.
• Consult a dietitian for improving your diet in order to heal tissue after the treatment and fight cancer.
• Join a support group for breast cancer.
• Talk to your family members and health care provider about the way you should be cared for if you are temporarily disabled.
• Do things that you enjoy and spend time with people that you love.