First, please note that this post regarding breast cancer treatment information in Costa Rica is general knowledge. It is not intended as medical advice. Any decisions made by the reader on medical treatments, after-care, or recovery should be made solely upon proper consultation from a qualified physician.

Treatment Overview

Breast cancer treatment requires a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to manage a patient. A team may include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers, and counselors. The pathology and behavior of breast cancer determine a patient’s treatment plan.

Treatment Options

The options available for breast cancer treatment depend on the type of cancer, the stage, the grade, genetic markers, and the patient’s overall health. Treatment can involve surgical removal of breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy:

  1. Surgery: Surgery is a viable option for small and early-stage breast cancers. Lumpectomy involves removing cancer and a small amount of cancer-free healthy tissue around it, or mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast, are two surgical options. Along with surgery, a lymph node biopsy or dissection is performed to determine the extent of the cancer and the next course of action.
  2. Radiotherapy: radiotherapy uses high-energy X-rays or other particles to kill the cancer cells. 
  3. Chemotherapy: chemotherapy uses powerful medicines which help to destroy cancer cells. It is given in cycles for a few weeks and usually involves a combination of two or more drugs. Sometimes, it is given before the surgery to shrink the cancer size. 
  4. Hormonal or endocrine therapy is beneficial in cases of breast cancer that are estrogen or progesterone-receptor-positive. Both early-stage and metastatic breast cancer are treated with hormone therapy.
  5. Targeted therapy inhibits cancer growth by targeting cancer proteins, genes, and the tissue environment. It is also known as biological therapy because it alters the cell cycle. The therapy works by targeting specific protein receptors found in cancer cells. They aid in the control or slowed progression of cancer.

Treatment Success Rates

The stage of the disease heavily influences the success of breast cancer treatment. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

Let’s keep spreading awareness!

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]

 

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