Cowden syndrome patients may need to undergo cancer treatment, should any precancerous or cancerous lesions be detected during routine high-risk cancer screening. The most common forms of cancer to occur in individuals affected by Cowden syndrome are thyroid gland cancer, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. The first part of cancer treatment when it comes to these forms of cancer is the surgical excision of the cancerous lesion and a considerable margin of healthy tissue around the tumor or tumors. Most initial malignant tumors in Cowden syndrome patients can be surgically resected, but some may require radiation therapy before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove. Radiation therapy uses beams of high energy particles or x-rays to damage the DNA inside of cancerous and precancerous cells. This mechanism causes these cells to die or be unable to grow and spread. For Cowden syndrome patients who develop cancer that cannot be cleared by surgical excision alone, systemic chemotherapy may be needed. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill off rapidly dividing cells in the body.
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