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Tritt Danielle Tritt Revised Short Research Project Raymond 20 March 2014

Breast Cancer Treatment No one likes to hear the word cancer in any conversation. Cancer, also known as malignancy, is the outcome of abnormal growth of cells and is the cause for over 585,000 deaths in the US per year (Cancer Facts & Figures 2014). Breast cancer, one of the many types, unfortunately runs in my family. However, my family members diagnosed with breast cancer have survived thanks to the assistance of extensive treatment options. There are six types of standard treatment that are used to cure breast cancer patients. These include: surgery, sentinel lymph node biopsy followed by surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. In addition to these present-day treatments, new types of treatment are currently being tested in clinical trials. I am most familiar with Chemotherapy because my grandma went through it. Because of this, I was most interested in learning more about this type of treatment. Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to prevent the growth of cancer cells, either by hindering them from dividing or killing them. These drugs include: alkylating agents, antimetabolites, anti-tumor antibiotics, topoisomerase inhibitors, mitotic inhibitors and corticosteroids. Systematic chemotherapy is when the drugs are taken by mouth or injected into a muscle or a vein in order to enter the bloodstream and reach the cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy can also be placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity, such as the abdomen, mainly affecting cancer cells in those areas. When

Tritt chemotherapy is given over a longer period of time, a thin catheter can be placed into a large

vein near the heart. This is called a central line. Different chemotherapy drugs can be given at the same time or after each other. Patients may receive radiation therapy before, after, or while they are getting chemotherapy. Depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated, determines the way the chemotherapy is given (Breast Cancer Treatment). Chemotherapy is usually performed in cycles. The cycles could last a day, several days, or a few weeks or more. There is usually a rest period when no chemotherapy is given between each cycle. Rest periods can last for days, weeks, or months, allowing the body and blood counts to recuperate before the next dose. Chemotherapy is given at hospitals and special clinics. Some patients are able to receive it from their home. Home health nurses help with the IVs and medication, while the patient and family members receive distinct training (Chemotherapy: MedlinePlus). Chemotherapy has different affect on each individual. Because chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells, the most common side effects are fatigue, anemia and infections. However, more serious complications may occur depending upon the type of chemotherapy treatment given (Chemotherapy: Learn). Every individuals body reaction to chemotherapy depends on many things such as: the length of the treatment, the prescribed dosage, and family/personal health history (Chemotherapy, Nausea...). Possible side effects include: nausea and vomiting, mouth sores (mucositis), nerve damage, diarrhea, constipation and hair loss. Most everyone loses their hair when going through chemotherapy; however, there are multiple ways to cope with this side effect. Commonly, when individuals lose their hair, they want to wear something to cover their head. This may include a wig, scarf, hat or turban. Select insurance plans will cover some of the

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cost of these items. Also, cancer organizations are helpful in directing patients to places in which they can find wigs. Most who choose to wear a wig consider buying one before their hair falls out completely; so that they can somewhat match their natural hair color. Wigs can be professionally fitted and styled by a wig salon; some in which specialize in hair loss due to chemotherapy. Day by day, new types of treatment are evolving and being tested in clinical trials to help reduce the number of deaths from not only breast cancer, but cancer in general. As of now, if one catches the abnormal cell growth in time, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy should help one be on their way down the road of recovery. However, it isnt always 100% guaranteed; some may need more extensive procedures. Thankfully, like stated before, new treatments are being tested in clinical trials daily. Cancer is a scary word; one should always stay one step ahead and never skip a yearly checkup.

Tritt Works Cited "Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)." - National Cancer Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. "Cancer Facts & Figures 2014." Cancer Facts & Figures 2014. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

"Chemotherapy: Learn Side Effects of This Cancer Treatment." MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. "Chemotherapy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. Chemotherapy, Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue, Diarrhea, Hair Loss, Mouth Sores, Neuropathy, Chemobrain | CancerCare. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.