SV Barrett



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, hemotherapy, radiotherapy, trastuzumab and bisphosphonates. This overview aims to summarise current knowledge and recent developments in the management of breast cancer.

Keywords Adjuvant therapy, breast cancer, mastectomy, screening

Declaration of Interests No conflict of interests declared.