About Breast Cancer Treatments
In general breast cancer treatments are either local (surgery and radiotherapy) or systemic (hormone therapy, chemotherapy, Herceptin). Local treatments just treat the tissue removed (surgery) or irradiated. Systemic treatments go through the whole body and treat any cancer cells that may have spread.
The usual sequence of breast cancer treatments is to remove all the disease we know about first (with surgery). This is often supplemented with radiotherapy to the breast or chest. Most, but not all ladies also require one or a combination of systemic treatments.
Systemic treatments can also treat local disease and are sometimes used to make local disease smaller such that it is easier to remove. This is called neo-adjuvant therapy.