Feminity in difficult times

Modern breast cancer therapy is based on three pillars: the operation, postoperative local irradiation, and systemic treatment with anticancer drugs. The operation is still considered to be the most important therapeutic option. It is usually carried out immediately after the histological confirmation of malignant disease and is aimed at the complete resection of all malignant tissue. The excision of one or multiple axillary lymph nodes provides further information on the biological behaviour of a tumor.  The breast can now be spared in the vast majority of cases but requires postoperative radiotherapy to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence to the breast. In most cases and depending on tumor characteristics, several cycles of chemotherapy and / or a prolonged therapy with antihormonal compounds follow the surgical procedure. In selected cases, tumors can now also be treated with antibodies with great success. While conventional prognostic factors such as tumor size or involved lymph nodes can give us a fairly good idea on whether a tumor is biologically aggressive, the use of modern molecular technologies allows us to better identify those women who will have an excellent prognosis and who most likely derive only minimal benefit from chemotherapy.

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