A breast cancer diagnosis is something no one wants to receive. But the burden of breast cancer is substantial. In fact, the World Health Organization notes that breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women worldwide.
Thankfully, breast cancer survival rates are high in many parts of the world, particularly in developed countries such as the United States, Canada and Japan. While survival rates are lower in developing countries, it is encouraging to know that the average five-year survival rates are as high as 90 percent in some nations. That suggests that the strategies used to successfully fight breast cancer in developed nations may one day prove as effective in developing nations, potentially leading to a sharp decline in global breast cancer deaths.
Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer, patients will be educated about a host of potential treatment options. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that breast cancer is treated in several ways, and the course of treatment a doctor recommends will depend on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. In addition, according to Breastcancer.org, breast cancer is made up of many different kinds of cancer cells, which often necessitates the use of various types of treatments to get rid of the cancer.
The following are some treatment options doctors may discuss with  breast cancer patients.
• Surgery: Breastcancer.org notes that surgery is typically the first line of attack against breast cancer. The CDC says the goal of surgery is to cut out cancer tissue. Some common breast cancer surgeries include lumpectomy, in which the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue is removed, and mastectomy, in which all of the breast tissue is removed.
• Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to treat various types of cancer and involves the administration of special medicines to shrink or kill existing cancer cells. Breastcancer.org notes that chemotherapy is sometimes administered prior to surgery in an attempt to shrink the cancer.
• Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy aims to kill cancer cells using high-energy rays that are similar to X-rays. Sometimes referred to as “radiotherapy,” radiation therapy is overseen by a radiation oncologist who specializes in this type of treatment.
• Hormonal therapy: Estrogen makes hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers grow, and hormonal therapy, which may be referred to as “anti-estrogen” therapy, aims to reduce the amount of estrogen in the body and block its action on breast cancer cells.
• Targeted therapies: These therapies, which Breastcancer.org notes are generally less likely than chemotherapy to harm normal, healthy cells, target specific characteristics of the cancer cells. Cancer cells can have many characteristics, so there are various types of targeted therapies.
Breast cancer treatments can be highly effective in the fight against breast cancer, particularly when the disease is caught in its early stages.