Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide. It affects roughly one in eight women and the rate of incidence is increasing year on year. This can be attributed to several elements including increased life expectancy, increased awareness of the disease and better screening programs. Fortunately, this increasing rate of incidence is being matched (if not out-done) by increasing cure rates thanks to modern developments in breast cancer treatment. Institut Curie is one of the leading centres for breast cancer care in France.
Understanding breast cancer
Breast cancer occurs when a tumour develops in the mammary glands of a patient. Although it is almost entirely associated with women, breast cancer can develop in men as well. Breast cancer is heterogeneous in nature, meaning that there are several different types that can occur. As a result, it is important to evaluate exactly which type of breast cancer a patient has in order to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Breast cancer treatment
Treatment plans for breast cancer are individually tailored based on the individual type and extent of a patient’s disease. Generally the first line of treatment for breast cancer is to surgically remove the lump. This surgery can involve removal of the tumour and a small margin of surrounding breast tissue (lumpectomy) or removal of the entire breast (mastectomy). Lymph nodes in the breast and axilla (armpit) may also be removed as part of the surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are commonly used treatments to compliment surgery.
Breast cancer treatment at the centre
Institut Curie is one of the leading innovators of cancer care worldwide. The centre is benchmarking new and innovate ways to treat breast cancer patients.
Improvements in their outpatients services allow patients to receive their surgery in the morning and go home later that same day.
Alternative treatment options are also available at the French cancer institute. The department has carried out several successful surgical procedures including mastectomies using hypnosis instead of anaesthetic.
As well as surgical treatment, Institut Curie are leaders in the field of post-treatment breast reconstructions and their Programme Activ’ is aimed at helping women resume suitable physical activities after their treatment.
Clinical research at Institut Curie
The department is currently involved in over twenty clinical trials associated with breast cancer including developing new and improved targeted therapies. Unlike chemotherapy which attacks all fast-growing cells in the body, targeted therapies work by focusing purely on cancer cells which could potentially reduce the many side effects associated with chemotherapy.
The centre also looks at improving early detection methods and researching potential breast cancer biomarkers. Public donations are one of the main incomes used to support the French cancer foundation.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Institut Curie is one of the leading cancer centres for breast treatment and research not only in France but worldwide. They are innovative in their treatment techniques and research adopting a continuous effort to develop new ways to detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer.