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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.



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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

3 Common Breast Cancer Treatments

by Francisco Arnold

According to the latest breast cancer statistics, one in 8 women in the United States will get diagnosed with an invasive type of breast cancer. In January of 2019, the number of women in the U.S. with a history of breast cancer reached 3.1 million. Despite the fact that over 41,000 women will die this year as a result of having breast cancer, there are effective treatment options available. In most cases, early detection is key, which is why physicians emphasize the importance of routine mammograms and breast self-examinations.

For those who do get diagnosed with cancer, here are three common breast cancer treatments.

1. Surgery

This type of treatment is necessary in order to remove a cancerous tumor from the breast. Surgery is also done in order to evaluate the axillary lymph nodes, which are located underneath the arm. There are two primary types of surgical procedures:

  • Lumpectomy - removal of the lump or tumor
  • Mastectomy - removal of the entire breast

In some instances, a double mastectomy is required. A lymph node removal may also be necessary as part of the breast cancer treatment.

2. Radiation Therapy

This type of therapy uses ionizing radiation in order to kill the cancerous cells in the breast tissue. Radiation therapy is usually performed either before or after surgery. There are three primary types of radiation therapy:

  • External-beam radiation therapy - given from outside the body
  • Intra-operative radiation therapy - given during surgery
  • Brachytherapy - radiation is placed inside the tumor

Of the three types of radiation therapy, the most common is external-beam radiation. No matter what type of radiation therapy is used, negative side effects will usually occur. Some of these side effects include fatigue, nausea, hair loss, heart problems, and swelling or tenderness in the breast.

3. Medicine

When certain types of medicine are given through the bloodstream, they can reach and destroy cancer cells. This is known as systemic therapy. One of the most common types of medicine used in treating breast cancer is chemotherapy. Other types of systemic therapy include:

  • Hormonal therapy - also called endocrine therapy, this treatment is used to block certain hormones in order to reduce recurrences of cancer
  • Targeted therapy - a treatment that targets the specific genes or proteins that cause cancer
  • Immunotherapy - this type of systemic therapy works to boost the body's immune system in order to fight the cancer

These types of medicines are administered in different ways including orally, intravenously, or through an injection.

For more information, contact a company like Silver Cancer Institute