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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

  • Patricia Lindley Profile

    I have tubular carcinoma. Should I get a lumpectomy or masectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had IDC grade 2 in my right breast buy I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy for my own peace of mind. I didn't want to go around for the rest of my life checking both of my breasts for lumps everyday and wondering what was going on in there. This does not guarantee that the cancer will not...

      more

      I had IDC grade 2 in my right breast buy I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy for my own peace of mind. I didn't want to go around for the rest of my life checking both of my breasts for lumps everyday and wondering what was going on in there. This does not guarantee that the cancer will not return but the chance of it returning is the lowest I could get. I have not regretted my decision at all, not for one second. I am now in the process of having tissue expander reconstruction. Unfortunately, this is a decision that no one can make for us and it is a very individual thing. Take your time, talk to your family but go with what you feel most comfortable with. Good luck with it all.

      Comment
    • Judy Ziegler Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 1994

      18 years ago I had a lumpectomy for tubular carcinoma which was inter-ductal insitu2. I have had a couple of bad scares but remain in cancer free today. I wish you The best. Judy

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone ever taken Xeloda and Tykerb for their Stage IV mets cancer? If so, did it work for you and how bad were the side effects?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2010
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I have a similar dx . I take xeloda only and my tumors are shrinking. I've been on this drug for 6 months. My tumor marker tests are also improving. Keep positive.

      3 comments
    • Renee' OK Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was just diagnosed but not your diagnoses. I pray for you and to have some answers and peace during this time. Hang in there! Keep posting!!!!

      Comment
  • Rita Siomos Profile

    Hi girls, I'm just about to start on Paclitaxel and was wondering if anyone else has been on it. If so, how did it go?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ive had 8 of 12. For me it's been much better than A/C. Still tired and weak and no stamina!! However for very doable. I'm working 35 hours week. No neuropathy as of yet :). After work prettying lay around and rest up. I've not had nausea and feel blessed for this. My chemo nurses say I...

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      Ive had 8 of 12. For me it's been much better than A/C. Still tired and weak and no stamina!! However for very doable. I'm working 35 hours week. No neuropathy as of yet :). After work prettying lay around and rest up. I've not had nausea and feel blessed for this. My chemo nurses say I have done great with this. But even so- its the hardest thing I've ever done. Physically and mentally. You can do this!!! Be positive and get ready to fight! Even on your worst day you have to tell yourself you will be done soon!!!! This will make you stronger and a fighter!!!! You go girl!!!

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Im on number 9 of 12 and it's been doable. Don't get me wrong, there have been tons of side effects, but so far manageable. Feel fluish and tired almost all week, underlying feeling of nausea at times but Compazine helps with that, hair loss sucked but again it's doable. Hot flashes have been...

      more

      Im on number 9 of 12 and it's been doable. Don't get me wrong, there have been tons of side effects, but so far manageable. Feel fluish and tired almost all week, underlying feeling of nausea at times but Compazine helps with that, hair loss sucked but again it's doable. Hot flashes have been what bother me most ~ I live in the south so it's already hot and humid in the mid 90's so it's harder to cool off and when I do I end up with chills lol

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Just finished ac 4x getting ready to start Taxol next week! I'm wondering what side effects this has? Dr said I might lose my fingernails? Did anybody have this happen? I do have little black spots on my nails already ;(

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3B Patient
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi, Evelyn is right. Every woman experiences her chemo differently. Taxol was easier on me than A/C. My nails didn't turn black but I did have some other changes in my nails. My fingernails flattened out. It wasn't noticeable to anyone but me. :). I just kept them cut short. My toe nails became...

      more

      Hi, Evelyn is right. Every woman experiences her chemo differently. Taxol was easier on me than A/C. My nails didn't turn black but I did have some other changes in my nails. My fingernails flattened out. It wasn't noticeable to anyone but me. :). I just kept them cut short. My toe nails became brittle but I didn't lose them. On two of my taxol treatments I ran a low grade fever for a few hours. Any time you run fever be sure to let your Onc know. I was fine. I had some body aches but not severe. I didn't experience the mild nausea I had with A/C. I still felt the fatigue of course. But overall Taxol was much easier on me. I hope you have few side effects! Just think....you're halfway finished with chemo!!! Best wishes!

      4 comments
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi there. Congrats on finishing your AC. I had the Taxol (Taxotere) along with the AC, so I didn't do it in stages. There are a lot of side effects associated with Taxol, but not everyone has them. Yes, your nails can turn black. My fingernails were fine, but the beds of my toenails turned...

      more

      Hi there. Congrats on finishing your AC. I had the Taxol (Taxotere) along with the AC, so I didn't do it in stages. There are a lot of side effects associated with Taxol, but not everyone has them. Yes, your nails can turn black. My fingernails were fine, but the beds of my toenails turned black. I have yet to see if they'll fall out.

      I happen to be one of those who had more side effects to the Taxotere than to the other two drugs. But my experience is not the norm. Many women don't react at all. It was clear after my first treatment that I was slightly allergic to Taxotere, and that allergy continued in various ways throughout my treatment. As long as you keep your doctors and nurses up to speed on how you're reacting to it, they'll know what to do for you.

      Best of luck!

      3 comments

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