How Does Cancer "Staging" Affect Treatment?
By Dr. M. Pradhan
Depending on the stage that cancer is diagnosed at, breast cancer treatment can either be localised, aimed at the tumour in the breast without really affecting the rest of the body, or it can be systemic, whereby the treatment attacks cancer cells anywhere in the body.
Both surgery and radiation are considered local treatments as they are targeted to remove or reduce the tumour in its original location only. On the other hand, treatments like chemotherapy, or hormone therapy for breast cancer which are drugs taken orally or as an IV are drugs which affect the entire body.
The stage that breast cancer is diagnosed at is essential to determine the treatment choice, as this takes into consideration whether the breast cancer is local or has spread to lymph nodes and other organs of the body.