Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy treatment uses medicine to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body, including cells at the original cancer site and any cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. There are quite a few chemotherapy medicines. In many cases, a combination of two or more medicines will be used as chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Chemotherapy is used to treat early-stage invasive breast cancer to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back; advanced-stage breast cancer to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible. Chemotherapy medicines prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading by destroying the cells or stopping them from dividing.

Adjuvant Therapy for breast cancer is any treatment given after primary therapy to increase the chance of long-term disease-free survival. Primary therapy is the main treatment used to reduce or eliminate the cancer. Not all women with breast cancer need adjuvant therapy. Patients at higher risk of cancer recurrence are more likely to need adjuvant therapy. Doctors look at both prognostic and predictive factors to decide which patients might benefit from adjuvant treatments. Prognostic factors help doctors estimate how likely a tumor is to recur. Predictive factors help doctors estimate how likely cancer cells are to respond to a particular treatment. Even in early-stage breast cancer, cells may break away from the primary tumor and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Therefore, doctors give adjuvant therapy to kill any cancer cells that may have spread, even if they cannot be detected by imaging or laboratory tests. Studies have shown that adjuvant therapy for breast cancer may increase the chance of long-term survival by preventing a recurrence.

Neoadjuvant Therapy is treatment given before primary therapy. A woman may receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer to shrink a tumor that is inoperable in its current state, so it can be surgically removed. A woman whose tumor can be removed by mastectomy may instead receive neoadjuvant therapy to shrink the tumor enough to allow breast-conserving surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given in the same manner as adjuvant chemotherapy. If a tumor does not respond (shrink) or continues to grow during neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the doctor may stop treatment and try another type of chemotherapy or perform surgery instead, depending on the stage of the cancer. Clinical trials are examining whether hormonal therapy or trastuzumab is effective when given before surgery.

  • Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
  • Adjuvant Chemotherapy
  • Dose-dense Chemotherapy
  • Combinational Chemotherapy
  • Breast Cancer in Young Women and in Pregnancy
  • HER-2 Positive Breast Cancer
  • Breast cancer, Psychosis and Schizophrenia

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