Patients diagnosed with breast cancer have several treatment options, depending on the type and severity of the disease. These are divided into two main groups. Local treatments are designed to treat the breast cancer while not harming any other part of the body and includes surgery and radiation therapy. Systemic treatments aim to reach cancer cells in any part of the body and include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and bone-directed therapy.
Chemotherapy is a common choice of treatment for cancer patients, but what is it? This video shared by DNews on its Youtube channel helps understand this therapeutic option. “Chemotherapy can be the most debilitating [compared to radiation therapy and surgery]. Technically, chemotherapy is a poison, but it is a poison that ultimately saves lives,” explains reporter Julia Wilder about the treatment which uses cancer-killing drugs either intravenously or orally to destroy cancer cells.
“The original chemotherapy drug was a derivate from mustard gas. During Wold War II, scientists noticed poison gas exposure shrunk the lymph nodes and, along with it, it shrunk lymphoma, a malignant tumor growth of the lymph nodes. Even though it’s a poison, it proved extremely successful in treating cancers throughout the mid-20th century. Today, chemotherapy use dramatically improves survival rates for breast cancer and it’s the primary treatment for cancers of the blood.”
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