Breast cancer treatment options are advancing continuously. In Germany, women with breast cancer have access to sparing irradiation, minimally invasive and plastic surgical procedures, novel targeted drugs and immunomodulating pharmaceutical substances. Availability of multifaceted therapeutic options allows achieving 98% 5-year relative survival rate for women with localized cancer and 80% 5-year relative survival rate for patients with locally advanced tumors. German clinics offer comprehensive care with focusing on eliminating malignant cells and relapse prevention.
Diagnostics and disease staging
Accurate diagnosis underlies distinguishing stages of breast cancer and combines physical, instrumental, and laboratory examination:
- Mammography, including screen-film, digital or 3D examination (digital breast tomosynthesis).
- Breast ultrasound is applied in patients with mammographically dense breasts. Ultrasound gives diverse image and may be more informative.
- Breast MRI is a topical tomography that provides doctor with detailed images of breast and surrounding tissues.
- Biopsy, including fine-needle aspiration, core or open excisional biopsy. Tumor sample is tested histologically along with HER2 and ER status determining.
Conventional therapeutic approaches
Conventional breast cancer treatment in Germany includes techniques that are approved by the international protocols:
- Surgical treatment with partial (segmental resection, lumpectomy, quadrantectomy) or complete mammary gland removal. Beyond all doubt, breast preserving surgeries have better esthetic result but in a number of cases they cannot guarantee complete tumor removal.
- Radiation therapy may be administered after the surgery or few days (weeks) before it. In metastatic breast cancer radiotherapy can be more beneficial than the surgery is.
- Chemotherapy is primarily aimed at prevention of tumor metastasizing.
- Hormonal therapy with aromatase inhibitors and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists prevents tumor from growing and reduces the stimulating influence of estrogens on it.
In German hospitals, therapeutic approaches are often used in combination, e.g hormonal therapy consolidates surgery results or radiotherapy precedes surgery.
Innovative treatment possibilities
Novel schemes that have been approved for breast cancer treatment in Germany include more targeted and sparing drugs:
- Improved chemotherapy with carboplatin is applied in triple negative breast cancer.
- Targeted therapy with PARP inhibitors is efficient in patients with HER2-positive neoplasms and mutations in BRCA genes.
- Targeted therapy with angiogenesis inhibitors is efficient in different tumor types, as it blocks formation of the tumor vessels.
- Immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors is also applied in metastatic triple-negative malignancies. In such patients immunotherapeutic agents (e.g atezolizumab) are administered along with chemotherapy (i.e nab-paclitaxel)
It should be noted that these pharmacological agents are not approved in all countries yet.
Planning therapy in leading German hospitals with Booking Health
For the foreign patients, treatment of breast cancer in Germany will be more transparent and coherent with assistance of Booking Health. Booking Health is the certified medical tourism provider that offers:
- Choosing the right hospital with specialization in oncology and mammology.
- Preparing medical program in advance (diagnosis making and therapeutic interventions).
- Additional monitoring of the medical program by independent experts.
- Making the appointment without being on the waiting list.
- Help in purchasing innovative medicines, medical products.
- Communication with German doctors after treatment completion, arranging distant consultations.
- Providing reasonable costs for medical services, saving up to 50% due to additional fees exclusion.
- Control of bills and final calculation, return of unspent funds.
- Organization of follow-up examinations and analyses, rehabilitation.
- Offering non-medical service of the highest level: booking hotels and tickets, transfer, interpreter.