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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 8 - Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a treatment method that uses a combination of drugs to either destroy cancer cells or slow cancer cell growth. Cytotoxic drugs (meaning “toxic to cells”) are taken intravenously (through the bloodstream) or orally. Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy, meaning that the drugs travel in the bloodstream through the entire body.

Chemotherapy is offered to most patients based on several factors: tumor type, grade, size, receptor status, lymph node involvement and the risk for spread elsewhere. Your medical team will work to select the right blend of chemotherapy drugs to suppress each stage of the cancer cells’ growth. Chemotherapy is commonly prescribed along with other treatment methods such as hormonal and targeted therapies. It can also be used to shrink a tumor before surgery for easier and safer removal.

If you receive chemotherapy, your doctor will administer it in short courses, with several weeks in between to allow your normal cells to recover. This treatment period can be a challenging time emotionally and physically; it is important for you to develop a support team of family or friends that can help comfort and encourage you in this time.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I have to have a double mastectomy done. Anyone use Dr. Suhail Kanchwala for a DIEP flap.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Traciann brundage Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      That's what I am having done Monday

      Comment
    • chris kerrigan Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      With Dr. Kanchwala?

      Comment
  • Tawonna Anthony Profile

    What if you get pregnant while undergoing chemotherapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    over 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Jessica Fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      It's very harmful to a fetus I was told that abortion would be the best option do I am havin my tubes tied

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Tawonna. This is what I found on the American Cancer Society:
      "Chemo usually is not given during the first 3 months of pregnancy (the first trimester). This is because most of the fetus’s internal organs develop during this time. The risk of miscarriage (losing the baby) is also the greatest...

      more

      Hi Tawonna. This is what I found on the American Cancer Society:
      "Chemo usually is not given during the first 3 months of pregnancy (the first trimester). This is because most of the fetus’s internal organs develop during this time. The risk of miscarriage (losing the baby) is also the greatest during the first trimester. The safety of chemo during this time has not been studied because of concerns about damage to the fetus.

      It was once thought that all chemo drugs would harm the fetus. But studies have shown that certain chemo drugs used during the second and third trimesters (the fourth through ninth months of pregnancy) do not raise the risk of birth defects, stillbirths, or health problems shortly after birth. But researchers still do not know whether these children will have any long-term effects.

      When a pregnant woman with early breast cancer needs adjuvant chemo after surgery, it’s usually delayed until at least the second trimester. If a woman is already in her third trimester when the cancer is found, the chemo may be delayed until after birth. The birth may be induced (brought on) a few weeks early in these cases. Depending on the extent of the cancer, these same treatment plans may also be used for women whose disease is more advanced.

      Chemo should not be given 3 to 4 weeks before delivery. This is because one side effect of chemo is that it lowers the mother’s blood counts. This could cause bleeding and increase the chances of infection during birth. Holding off on chemo for the last few weeks before delivery allows the mother’s blood counts to return to normal levels before childbirth."

      I have read about several women who have delivered healthy babies after having chemo. Best wishes to you. :)

      Comment
  • Melanie Anne Profile

    When was the first time that breast cancer was caused

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years Answer
  • Nona Feeney Profile

    Why do I need 4 treatments of chemo?...1 every 3 weeks...

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Nona,
      The number of treatments has probably been shown to kill off the remaining cancers cells of your type of BC with the most efficacy. The three weeks in between, gives your body time to recover from the toxic effects of the chemo. You are fighting a tough opponent. I also had to have 4...

      more

      Nona,
      The number of treatments has probably been shown to kill off the remaining cancers cells of your type of BC with the most efficacy. The three weeks in between, gives your body time to recover from the toxic effects of the chemo. You are fighting a tough opponent. I also had to have 4 rounds of chemo.(AC) and 5 years of hormone blocking drug. I considered myself extremely lucky because most women with my type of cancer, up to that point, had been receiving, 4 rounds of AC and then another 6 to 8 rounds of Taxol. Hang in there, you will make it. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I did that same protocol - 4 rounds (once every 3 weeks). I finished in February and the followed with radiation. That seems to be the standard minimum.

      2 comments

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