Journal Mobile

SV Barrett
Journal Issue: 
Volume 40: Issue 4: 2010




Breast cancer is now the most common cancer of women in the UK and  incidence  is  increasing.  Because  of  major  treatment  advances  and  earlier diagnosis over the past 40 years, survival rates have been improving gradually and women diagnosed with breast cancer today are almost twice as likely to survive for 10 years or longer as women 40 years ago. However, breast cancer remains a major contributor to cancer morbidity and mortality in the UK. The majority of patients present with potentially curative disease and surgery is the mainstay of  treatment.  Many  patients  receive  adjuvant  (post-operative)  therapy,  which reduces  the  risk  of  loco-regional  and  distant  disease  recurrence.  Treatment options  include  radiotherapy,  chemotherapy,  endocrine  therapy  and  biological agents, with treatment increasingly tailored to the individual tumour and patient, aiming to provide maximum survival benefit with minimum toxicity. Many patients participate  in  clinical  trials  of  radiotherapy,  new  agents,  drug  combinations  or novel  dosing  regimens.  Patients  with  metastatic  disease  can  rarely  be  offered curative  treatment,  but  improved  quality  of  life  and  prolonged  survival  may  be achieved  with  palliative  treatment,  including  hormones,  chemotherapy,  radiotherapy, trastuzumab  and  bisphosphonates.  This  overview  aims  to  summarise  current knowledge and recent developments in the management of breast cancer.