How Is Chemotherapy Used to Treat Breast Cancer?

Q:

I heard that chemotherapy is a good to treat breast cancer. How is chemotherapy used ?

A:

Chemotherapy, also known as chemo, is treatment with cancer-killing drugs to weaken and kill cancer cells. Drugs are given either intravenously or by mouth, which travel through the bloodstream and affect the whole body. Chemo not only kill cancer cells, but also can do harm to healthy cells.

Not all women with breast cancer will need chemo, but there are several situations in which chemo may be recommended:

  • After surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy). Adjuvant chemo is aimed to killing cancer cells left after surgeries so that it can prevent these cells from forming new tumors in the future.
  • Before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). Neoadjuvant chemo is often used to shrink the size of tumors before surgeries. In this way, surgeons can have less difficulty in removing large-sized tumors (locally advanced cancers). Besides, doctors can better know which drugs are effective and then adjust the patient’s treatment.
  • For advanced breast cancer. Chemo can also be used to treat advanced breast cancer that has spread outside the breast and underarm area. The length of the treatment depends on its effectiveness and the patient’s tolerance.

 

Keywords: breast cancer chemotherapy; chemotherapy breast cancer; types breast cancer chemotherapy

 

 

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.