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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

  • 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
    almost 6 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
  • Lorenia Coleman Profile

    diagnosed with stage 3a TNBC. I had 6 rounds of chemo TAC. My surgery was scheduled 9 weeks after last chemo treatment. Tumor grew back from 1cm to 5.5 cm with symptoms of IBC. Has anyone ever heard of this happening?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 2 answers
    • Fats ferreira Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Hi Lorenia.... please check out tnbcfoundation.org it's a support forum about tnbc.... more than likely you'll get someone with same or similar situation... God Bless you on your journey.

      Comment
    • candace priddy Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      My cancer grew during chemo. I had a lumpectomy. 4 rounds of AC and 16 rounds of Taxol. On the last infusion I informed the Oncologist about the lump. He told me it was most likely scar tissue. I pushed for an ultrasound. I was told this was a rare occurrence but unfortunately I am hearing...

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      My cancer grew during chemo. I had a lumpectomy. 4 rounds of AC and 16 rounds of Taxol. On the last infusion I informed the Oncologist about the lump. He told me it was most likely scar tissue. I pushed for an ultrasound. I was told this was a rare occurrence but unfortunately I am hearing more and more folks with a similar story. Best of luck! I am sure you will do great. Just a small detour on your path.

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Was anyone else told too much water is bad while going thru chemo? I drink about 100-120 oz of water with a combination of Gatorade.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 4 answers
  • Yvette Shamayleh Profile

    how long between biopsy, diagnosis and surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Biopsy tumor and nodes 12/12/12. He told me then I had cancer. 12/12/12 got phone call. Met with Nurse Navigator for two hour discussion about cancer. Next day met with surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist. Had Mugga. Bone scan, Ct scan... Started chemo 12/20/12... If the cancer is...

      more

      Biopsy tumor and nodes 12/12/12. He told me then I had cancer. 12/12/12 got phone call. Met with Nurse Navigator for two hour discussion about cancer. Next day met with surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist. Had Mugga. Bone scan, Ct scan... Started chemo 12/20/12... If the cancer is aggressive grade 3 and her2 you need quick aggressive action. If it is DCIS Or grade 1 you can go ahead and take a vacation or have Christmas first.

      Comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Diagnosis was a couple of days after biopsy. Surgery was about 3 weeks after, but it would have been sooner, but I delayed it a week because of my daughter's wedding.

      Comment

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