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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

    Has anyone had 3 week short course radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I finished my 16th treatment week before last. I had first and second degree burns but they are healing ok now.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I will finish my 16th treatment Tuesday .

      Comment
  • Anne Thompson Profile

    Does anyone have any suggestions for relief of hot flashes? Or to minimize?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I wish I could help you because I have had them for years. They have become less severe but I have just had to deal with them. My onc. has tried me on a drug "Effexor" (or something like that) but it didn't help. I have heard it has helped other women. Mention it to your oncologist. I just...

      more

      I wish I could help you because I have had them for years. They have become less severe but I have just had to deal with them. My onc. has tried me on a drug "Effexor" (or something like that) but it didn't help. I have heard it has helped other women. Mention it to your oncologist. I just have to carry a paper towel with me to mop up the sweat that pours down my face. I have adopted a saying from a friend of mine when my face and neck turn beet red, and beads of sweat form..... If someone looks at me in that certain way, I just say.... "I AM HAVING MY OWN PERSONAL SUMMER."
      Hang in there gal, I wish I had a better answer for you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Vitamin E has helped me a lot.

      Comment
  • tamara carr Profile

    I have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, stage 1. What is the best course or treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too...

      more

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too widespread. She had a mastectomy and will be having reconstruction, no chemo.
      Your treatment plan depends on a lot of things on a cellular level. No two women's treatment plans seem to be the same. The pathology may be similar, with the same overall diagnosis but the treatment plans depend on that microscopic detection. Good luck to you! Sharon

      Comment
    • Jodie Brummet Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 last year. I was able to have lumpectomy followed by radiation. I am premenopausal and take Tamoxifen. I also had negative genetic test. Ask many questions and you will find what is the best treatment path for you.

      Comment
  • Craig Holder Profile

    Tomorrow we begin our fight with BC with a bilateral Mastectomy. My wife has a great attitude going in. Dr. says she"ll be in hospital for 2 nights. what can i do to make her life bearable when she comes home?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 7 years 18 answers
    • View all 18 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Dear Craig,
      Clean sheets on the bed a must! She will be tired and probably want to sleep quite a bit. Have some extra pillows in case she needs to support her body in different ways. She may need help getting in and out of bed. She also may be more comfy sitting in a chair... just follow her...

      more

      Dear Craig,
      Clean sheets on the bed a must! She will be tired and probably want to sleep quite a bit. Have some extra pillows in case she needs to support her body in different ways. She may need help getting in and out of bed. She also may be more comfy sitting in a chair... just follow her lead. Keep track of her pain medication schedule. She may need help to empty the drain reservoirs and keep track of the collection amount. Light frequent meals, her favorites a plus! She may have some moments when she is very sad....you will be her dearest friend during these times. The enormity of the entire event may really hit her. Up to this point, it has only been in the abstract, this makes it real. This is a huge realization. She may have bursts of anger... let the words go in one ear and out the other.
      I had horrible care when I was in the hospital, thankfully, I was only in one night. If my dear husband had not have been there.... I would never have had any food or been helped to the bathroom. While you are with her in the hospital, MAKE SURE, she gets adequate care, food, can get a hold of a nurse, a phone, the TV changer, etc. (I had no call button, no phone, etc. it was awful.... like being in a third world country!!) So I want to warn you even at hospitals that advertise their excellent care, atual care can be non-existant or a nightmare. When you leave her at night make contact with whoever is going to be on duty and make you and your wife KNOWN to them. My husband ended up being my nurse! He learned how to disconnect what I was hooked up to.... etc.
      Her surgery will take quite a while so bring your electronic gadgets with you, or bring a great book, wear comfortable clothes, make sure you eat and stay hydrated. Bring a list of phone numbers with you so you can tell people how she is doing. It would be great if you had a friend or relative waiting with you too. You have to take care of YOU TOO!
      She will be ok, this is the first huge step in ridding her of this breast cancer. You are a wonderful hubby! Hang in there..... take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Nancy Ries Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Craig, I love that the second word in your post is WE. You are such a special husband. My journey through breast cancer was much easier than your wife's will be. My husband was there with me every step also. I have said this before but you truly are a rock star of a husband. The four ladies who...

      more

      Craig, I love that the second word in your post is WE. You are such a special husband. My journey through breast cancer was much easier than your wife's will be. My husband was there with me every step also. I have said this before but you truly are a rock star of a husband. The four ladies who have already posted have given you valuable information. Thoughts and prayers for your wife and you to

      Comment

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