If the tumour characteristics suggest an increased risk of cancer recurrence, the use of adjuvant treatments after surgery are recommended to minimise the risk. Many patients need and have these adjuvant treatments. In addition, depending on need, so-called staging can be performed to ensure that there is no cancer tissue elsewhere in the body.
The need for staging depends on the characteristics of the excised tumour, the patient’s symptoms and whether the cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes in the armpit. Whole-body computed tomography (CT) is the most common examination for the staging of breast cancer. Examination of the abdominal area can sometimes be complemented with an MRI scan. Docrates also performs FDG and FES-PET-CT scans which represent the most advanced technology and are used in special cases. Today, a fluoride PET-CT scan can be performed instead of scintigraphy (bone scan).
Drug therapy (chemotherapy) of breast cancer
After the operation, the doctors at Docrates will recommend any necessary chemotherapy. The recommendation is made individually on the basis of the latest research data and national and international treatment guidelines. Depending on each individual case, the chemotherapy includes cytostatic chemotherapy and/or endocrine therapies and possibly biological drugs. Cytostatic chemotherapy usually involves six sessions of intravenous chemotherapy, administered at three-week intervals. Endocrine therapies are often referred to as hormonal therapies. The purpose of endocrine therapy is to block the effects of female sex hormones on any hormone-dependent cancer cells. The treatment is given in tablet form and the tablets are usually taken daily for five years. Chemotherapy is associated with varying adverse effects. We pay particular attention to their prevention and treatment.
Radiotherapy of breast cancer
Breast-conserving surgery is practically always followed by subsequent radiotherapy. Radiotherapy significantly reduces the risk of localised cancer recurrence and prolongs survival. If cancer cells are detected in the removed lymph nodes, radiotherapy of the armpit and the supraclavicular fossa above the clavicle is also recommended. Postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy usually takes four to six weeks. Treatment is administered five days a week. Each session takes about 15 minutes.
The information provided by advanced imaging studies, together with cutting-edge radiotherapy equipment, allows us to minimise the adverse effects of treatment and yet deliver a higher dose of radiation to the tumour. At Docrates Cancer Center, radiotherapy is always planned by a team consisting of a doctor, a radiographer and a medical physicist.