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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

  • Michele Anderson Profile

    Dr said double mastectomy was best bc she was unable to locate the lesion that was picked up on the mri with the ultrasound machine to do an biopsy. What can I expect? She said with expanders it could take up to 6 months. Is it painful?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Brandi Mixon Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I haven't started my reconstruction yet, but the double mastectomy was a great choice for me! Surgery was not bad. The worst part was the drainage tubes and those were gone within three weeks. I have some "falsies" that I wear when I want to "dress up" but most days I go without. Oncologist just...

      more

      I haven't started my reconstruction yet, but the double mastectomy was a great choice for me! Surgery was not bad. The worst part was the drainage tubes and those were gone within three weeks. I have some "falsies" that I wear when I want to "dress up" but most days I go without. Oncologist just gave me the go ahead to start the reconstruction. We are strong women! You'll do great whichever route you choose!!

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      It's a relief to have a plan in place but still unsettling not knowing what it will be like. Everyone is different, but I experienced a lot of pressure after the mastectomy/expander surgery and the first couple of days after a fill of the expander. Take your meds after the surgery to stay on...

      more

      It's a relief to have a plan in place but still unsettling not knowing what it will be like. Everyone is different, but I experienced a lot of pressure after the mastectomy/expander surgery and the first couple of days after a fill of the expander. Take your meds after the surgery to stay on top of the pain. I only used them for a couple of days. Use pillows to prop your arms for comfort in bed. Ibuprofen helped after fills or you can ask our doctor for something stronger. Let others do for you the first couple weeks. It makes them feel good and shows you how much you are loved! Keep the questions coming. Your Pink Sisters are here for you!

      Comment
  • Nicole Rodgers Profile

    My doctor is suggesting that I do 6 weeks of radiation after chemo. Did anyone else do this? Did anyone have any scarring or bad side effects after radiation? (a few family members are trying to talk me out of it)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Hi Nicole,
      I had 36 radiation treatments after chemo. Radiation was a breeze compared to chemo. The burning was minimal and really just going everyday was a nuisance. I had a lot of sickness with chemo so after chemo was done I felt like a big weight was off my shoulders and radiation was not...

      more

      Hi Nicole,
      I had 36 radiation treatments after chemo. Radiation was a breeze compared to chemo. The burning was minimal and really just going everyday was a nuisance. I had a lot of sickness with chemo so after chemo was done I felt like a big weight was off my shoulders and radiation was not that bad.
      My advice on listening to family members is listen politely but do what you need to do for yourself and your health and remember your doctor has the knowledge and experience and is the expert in knowing how to treat your cancer. Get a second opinion if you need to for peace of mind.

      2 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Nicole, you didn't mention what stage cancer you have. I haven't reached the radiation part of my treatment yet but I'll be having it as soon as I'm given the go-ahead. All the women I've spoken to said the chemo side effects were much worse than the radiation treatments. Personally, I want to...

      more

      Hi Nicole, you didn't mention what stage cancer you have. I haven't reached the radiation part of my treatment yet but I'll be having it as soon as I'm given the go-ahead. All the women I've spoken to said the chemo side effects were much worse than the radiation treatments. Personally, I want to look back and say that I know I've done everything I can possibly do to be in remission. And if that means radiation, then that's what I'll do. As far as family members go....I know their intentions are good....but it's your body and health. You need to decide what's best for you! Good luck in whatever you decide and keep the faith in your journey. :)

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What am I to expect concerning sex with my husband during treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I feel your frustration been there talk to your gyn as there are options a progesterone IUD, Withdrawal method, and others.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I am post menopausal so birth control wasn't issue. Some days I felt like it sometimes I didn't. My husband knew what kind of fight WE were in and he took cues from me. Sometimes I surprised him because I knew the fight WE were in. Don't forget to be normal sometimes or there won't be anything...

      more

      I am post menopausal so birth control wasn't issue. Some days I felt like it sometimes I didn't. My husband knew what kind of fight WE were in and he took cues from me. Sometimes I surprised him because I knew the fight WE were in. Don't forget to be normal sometimes or there won't be anything left when the fight is done.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    A follow up PET is recommended to measure treatment effecincy. The question is: what is the recommended duration to perform PET following a chemo session?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I just had my PET scan yesterday. It's been 2 weeks since my last chemo treatment. According to my Oncologist the reccomended time period is from 2-4 weeks after your last chemo. :)

      Comment

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