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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

  • Mary Anne Babicky-Bouton Profile

    Had to reschedule surgery. I need another needle biopsy of a new node, they're moving the department across the street. I was pretty pissy about it at first but really, what a waste of precious time. Thank you ladies for being here! I love y'all!

    Asked by anonymous

    stage_4 Patient
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mary Anne,
      I TOTALLY understand your desire to "Get This Show On The ROAD!" These little detours are a pain but essential. Just a bit longer and you will get going on your treatment to get rid of this lousy disease. Hang in there darlin' Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I know time may be a concern but it is soooo important to have all the info so you don't have to go through some of the procedures more than once. Hang in there just a bit longer. This could be more blessing than curse. Have a peaceful day.

      Comment
  • Erin Timlin Profile

    What kind of pain should I expect? I am having a right mastectomy with an expander on Wednesday. I have two little ones at home so I am wondering about recovery as well.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad....

      more

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad. Thanks for all your responses!

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had a right mastectomy with expanders also. I had a difficult time with the expanders, they really hurt. I was out of commission for about 3 weeks, then I could drive, walk the dogs etc. Didntntake too much pain relievers

      Comment
  • Mary Denoble Profile

    Anyone who was hypthyroid prior to diagnosis: did chemo. affect the amount of thyroid replacement you needed ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Alison Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      No it didn't for me either

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      No it didn't change my thyroid medicatinon.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My very good friend was just diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. She is only in her thirties and has a young child. what's the best thing to do/say? I'm just pissed right now.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Maria J Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      You are dear. Don't worry about what to say, but what you'll do to help. There will be so much, household chores, help with the children, meals. Don't ask just do. Best wishes. This will be hard on you too, but you sound like a a very caring person.

      1 comment
    • Alison Soule Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I was 31. Some friends disappeared, but the most helpful friends were there to listen WITHOUT giving advice, because, to be honest, if you haven't had cancer, you just don't know. I needed people to let me vent and to make me laugh and feel normal. Just be there for her. When you visit, don't...

      more

      I was 31. Some friends disappeared, but the most helpful friends were there to listen WITHOUT giving advice, because, to be honest, if you haven't had cancer, you just don't know. I needed people to let me vent and to make me laugh and feel normal. Just be there for her. When you visit, don't feel like you have to say anything, but if you want to just let her know you're there if she wants to vent, cry, scream, etc., and if she wants to laugh--you're there for that too. As a young breast cancer survivor, she likely feels lonely, her peers can't relate...so just help her get through it and be there. Do things without her asking --cook a meal, take her child out for a special treat (or babysit and let her go out), offer to go to a treatment with her, or to help at home when she goes.
      This stuff all makes a huge difference. What she might not realize ( and I didn't until I was done with my treatment and cancer free) is that she might have feelings of anger. They might come out in tears, but it's normal if she feels pissed that she has cancer. Again, she might not show it now because she might just be trying to power through her treatment. Anyway...I've rambled...let me know of you want more info. I'm almost 35 now and still fine and approaching my 3 year survivor date.

      1 comment

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