loading... close

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

  • Linda Burke Profile

    I have 2 chemo cycles left and I am questioning whether I can bounce right back into my prior life as people expect me to. My work wants me to start right away but my mind and body don't feel ready. How have people handled this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 8 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I didnt work full time, I was too sick. Thankfully my boss was understanding n let me do a lot of work from home. It took me almost a year to feel normal again. Listen o your body, whatever anyone else thinks doesn't matter. Honestly nobody who hasn't been through this can really understand,...

      more

      I didnt work full time, I was too sick. Thankfully my boss was understanding n let me do a lot of work from home. It took me almost a year to feel normal again. Listen o your body, whatever anyone else thinks doesn't matter. Honestly nobody who hasn't been through this can really understand, family, friends etc. I was true to myself and only did what I could do.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Linda, you don't mention how many cycles you will have had. I had 6 and it took me 3-4 weeks to start to feel "normal" again. At about week 4 it was like I woke up one morning and said "hey, I feel pretty good!" I didn't push it, though, because I was still anemic and got tired quickly. ...

      more

      Hi Linda, you don't mention how many cycles you will have had. I had 6 and it took me 3-4 weeks to start to feel "normal" again. At about week 4 it was like I woke up one morning and said "hey, I feel pretty good!" I didn't push it, though, because I was still anemic and got tired quickly. Despite what they might want, I don't believe your job can require you to return to work before you are healed from your treatment. Nor can they "punish" you in any way for not returning when they wanted you to. I'd talk to your HR person if you have one, and certainly review your company handbook or policies if they have them. If necessary get a note from your doctor stating that your health doesn't permit you to begin working for XX weeks or months.
      Good luck!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I'm 34 and recently diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer is chemotherapy necessary. I'm worried about infertility

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Alison Soule Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I was 31 and had chemo. My period came back and if the time comes for me to try and have children and it works , it works. If it doesn't, I'll seek out another way. I met with a specialist about freezing eggs and I chose not to go that route because A) it's really expensive and doesn't end...

      more

      I was 31 and had chemo. My period came back and if the time comes for me to try and have children and it works , it works. If it doesn't, I'll seek out another way. I met with a specialist about freezing eggs and I chose not to go that route because A) it's really expensive and doesn't end always work (15% Chance they said) and B) I didn't want to mess with what was meant to be. It's up to you, but if you have chemo, ask what your options are

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      There are options out their. I didn't need chemo it depends on your type of cancer & stage. You can freeze your eggs now just in case

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had lumpectomy with one node removed. How long does it take to know if I am going to have lymphedema. I have some swelling above the node biopsy incision. It has been 16 days since surgery.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • jennifer lewis Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      You can get lymphedema anytime. It could show up right away or years from now or never. Just be aware of anything unusual and massage the area regularly.

      Comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would take bets with one node gone the rest will just take over and you will have no problems... Do some gentle lymph massage to help it flow..

      2 comments
  • Connie Logan Profile

    Any suggestions for relief? I'm on the 17th of 28 rads. My skin is burning and itching all over the treated area. I was given Silvadene and told to only use that. This is painful and driving me crazy.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I cam't say enough of lindiskin soothing balm. I'm sure people think I work for them but I don 't. lindiskin worked when nothing else worked. I tried everything it ether didn't work or gave me a rash on top of everything else. Www.lindiskin.com

      4 comments
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I had second degree burns and the measle looking rash. Aquaphore helped me more than anything. For the actual burnt places that split open my onc gave me some purple stuff to "paint" into the cracks. It helped a lot. That was a rough time for me but by the grace of God, I made thru it and I am on...

      more

      I had second degree burns and the measle looking rash. Aquaphore helped me more than anything. For the actual burnt places that split open my onc gave me some purple stuff to "paint" into the cracks. It helped a lot. That was a rough time for me but by the grace of God, I made thru it and I am on Tamoxifen.

      2 comments

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 1

An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

spread the word