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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

    My mom sched for bilateral mastectomy this wk. expander will be put in. Unclear if implant or diep flap is at same time. me and my aunt her for 1st wk. Aunt only 2nd wk. anyone have home health aide referrals for chicago area/orland park?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a double mastectomy with expanders in March. I needed help for the 1st 2 weeks after that I was good. My mom came for 2 weeks & I felt bad that I didn't need her help but it was nice to have company. Once u get the drains removed which takes a week it gets a little easier. I had a lot of...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy with expanders in March. I needed help for the 1st 2 weeks after that I was good. My mom came for 2 weeks & I felt bad that I didn't need her help but it was nice to have company. Once u get the drains removed which takes a week it gets a little easier. I had a lot of pain the 1st 3 days but it was bearable. Couldn't sleep laying flat had to sit propped on pillows & put them under your arms for elevation. These tips the ladies on this site gave me & they were right. My nurse taught me great excercises to stretch muscle over expander. Prayers

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      From my understanding if she is having expanders put in the implant or flap surgery will be later as the expanders make the area large enough for whatever type of reconstruction she is having.

      Comment
  • Brenda  Hawkins  Profile

    Stage 2, invasive ductal and lobule cancer, centinal node positive, 16 out of 16 axillary nodes negative, triple positive. Treatment??

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Brenda, there are lots of online sites you can access to see what the treatment is. I had Stage 2B IDC with one positive sentinal node. Did you have a Oncotype DX test? Even if another woman has exactly the same case, there could be microscopic differences that changes your course of...

      more

      Brenda, there are lots of online sites you can access to see what the treatment is. I had Stage 2B IDC with one positive sentinal node. Did you have a Oncotype DX test? Even if another woman has exactly the same case, there could be microscopic differences that changes your course of treatment. Diagnostics have become down to the cell level and beyond. Your treatment will be tailor-made just for you and your type of cancer. If you don't get an answer here, it is just because someone with that type of cancer isn't reading this at the moment. There is another site called Adjuvant Online... you sign-up as a doctor, and have access. It can give you probably more information than you want. I hope somebody checks in here who can give you some personal experience with this type of breast cancer. All of us here have had our own stories of breast cancer and treatment. No matter what, we ALL support each other and we all know the paths we have walked. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If things don't pass the "gut feelings" do not hesitate to get a second opinion... or even a third. Hang in there, gal.

      2 comments
  • erica s Profile

    Did any of u girls taking Zometa for bones monthy feel really fatigued for a day or 2 following? I am going on my 2nd tx of that this Weds. I had no problem at all the first time like they say but I did feel real fatigued for a few days after...... Ty all

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2010
    almost 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Barb G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I do feel fatigue a lot. At first I had extreme pain like my bone where being crushed but my Doctor started me on Toradal and decadron through my IV port so I still feel fatigued but the pain was almost nil.

      I hope this infor helps. We are all just going to be fatigued. It goes along with the...

      more

      I do feel fatigue a lot. At first I had extreme pain like my bone where being crushed but my Doctor started me on Toradal and decadron through my IV port so I still feel fatigued but the pain was almost nil.

      I hope this infor helps. We are all just going to be fatigued. It goes along with the whole thing. Do you agree?

      8 comments
    • Virgínia  guerra  Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes. I 've taken once already. I felt very tired, had fever and pains all over my body!

      2 comments
  • Mary G Profile

    Hi Ladies, diagnosis details: IDC, ER+, PR -, HER 2 -, 3cm tumor with 2 positive nodes. Could use some reassurance from similar cases. Will star chemo shortly, them surgery, then radiation. Anyone similar I can chat with?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2013
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mary,
      Your case is not uncommon. In fact, your type of breast cancer is the most common. It is also very common to have chemotherapy first to shrink tumors and it works! No one can predict how you will tolerate chemo. Everyone is so different but many women keep working. I always felt like I...

      more

      Mary,
      Your case is not uncommon. In fact, your type of breast cancer is the most common. It is also very common to have chemotherapy first to shrink tumors and it works! No one can predict how you will tolerate chemo. Everyone is so different but many women keep working. I always felt like I had the flu for about 3 to 4 days, then got back to normal. You can probably schedule your treatments on Friday and have the weekend to recover. Keep in mind your immune system is somewhat compromised so you have to be watchful about not being around people with colds or flu. Not knowing what kind of work you do but my doctor warned me not to be in crowds, etc.

      Anyway.... be assured your doctor is giving you chemo first for the desired effect of killing off the breast cancer cells and shrinking the spread. Hang in there, darlin'.
      Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • patti garcia Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Finished chemo May 31 of this year. 4 rounds of adriamyicin, cytocin 1 every other week followed by 12 once a week of taxol. July 3 mastectomy, wait 4-6 weeks before starting radiation, followed by tamoxifen. Next summer reconstruction. Any time you want to talk, I'm here.

      1 comment

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