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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

  • karyn johnson Profile

    I will start TC chemo soon. I am afraid of loosing my hair. I am pretty sure it is inevitable, but can anyone give me an idea of when and how fast it will fall out?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Mine fell out two weeks after first infusion in feb. seven months later it has grown back in short, thick & very Curley. Great full to have my own hair. No longer have to ware a wig. Prayers to you. IJ

      1 comment
    • Lisa G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I always suggest that you cut it yourself. It seems to be less traumatic that way. They so many cute wigs out there. This might be a chance to explore another side of yourself. Have fun with the color, style and length.
      I know it can be scary but let that fear go and Rock a new look.
      Best wishes.

      Comment
  • Estelle Dacquisto Profile

    I've has a double mastectomy, 6 chemo treatments and 12 lymph nodes removed on one side. I'm thinking of not getting radiation. What is there left to radiate? Has anyone elected the same in the past?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Kathy M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a double mastectomy and chemo and will be undergoing radiation. Their reasoning was that there could still be cells under the breast skin especially if you had a skin sparing mastectomy which they often do if you elect to have reconstruction. As far as lymph nodes, I also had a lot removed...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy and chemo and will be undergoing radiation. Their reasoning was that there could still be cells under the breast skin especially if you had a skin sparing mastectomy which they often do if you elect to have reconstruction. As far as lymph nodes, I also had a lot removed but there are still lymph nodes remaining and radiation is supposed to be a direct attack on any residual cancer cell in that area. I hope this helps but if not perhaps get a second opinion from a different oncologist.

      5 comments
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Could also be remaining cancer cells in the chest wall.

      1 comment
  • Kim Amelio Profile

    My mom just got diagnosed - I am so scared. She sees the surgeon on Monday to schedule a bilateral mastecomy. What should I expect and what can I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Kim, I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. It's wonderful that she has a caring daughter like you! :). I just had my bilateral mastectomy on Oct. 24th and am still recovering. Usually the hospital stay is just overnight. She'll have 2 or more drains that will need to be emptied periodically and...

      more

      Hi Kim, I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. It's wonderful that she has a caring daughter like you! :). I just had my bilateral mastectomy on Oct. 24th and am still recovering. Usually the hospital stay is just overnight. She'll have 2 or more drains that will need to be emptied periodically and the fluid measured when she returns home. Her dr and/or nurses should explain the correct way to do this. You could help her with this. She won't be able to lift anything over 10 lbs or drive for a few weeks. Also taking a bath with the drains can be a little tricky at first and might need some help. I took a long shoestring and tied the drains up ( like a necklace). This kept my incisions dry and drains out of the way so I could bathe. If she has a recliner ....that would be a great help. She won't be able to lie on her side to sleep for awhile and my recliner was a lifesaver for me as far as being comfortable! If not....then several comfy pillows so she can prop herself up would be good as well. All those things will help her as well as helping her with meals. Emotionally it's difficult losing your breasts. It will be an adjustment for her. Give her lots of TLC. :). I'll say a prayer for your Mom and best wishes on Monday!!

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Good Morning Kim,
      Diana gave you such good tips and what to expect. Your mom is lucky to have you at her side to go through this together. I too have some information that may help you and your mom through the rough first stages of recovery....always remember that there is light at the end of...

      more

      Good Morning Kim,
      Diana gave you such good tips and what to expect. Your mom is lucky to have you at her side to go through this together. I too have some information that may help you and your mom through the rough first stages of recovery....always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel....I have written my experience in a paper I have posted on line for other women to read. Our type of breast cancer maybe different along with our choices of treatment, but the more we share and the more we know the better it is for us to deal with the road ahead. You may access my story at http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj (In my story I take you from the initial abnormal mammogram, the biopsy, surgery and recovery period after my bilateral subcutaneous mastectomies. I also have a reflection of a year later)
      May God Bless

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Did anyone get permanent make-up for eye brows before starting chemo? Do you think it's too risky?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Didn't think of getting them before but went and had my eye brows tattood a few weeks ago and they are fantastic, I should have done it years ago. I am extremely happy with them. Go for it I say, it will help you to feel better about yourself and it seems to give your whole face a lift.

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I didn't lose mine until the end and didn't notice until thy started growing back! I dont think I would have gotten them tattooed though. I would have just used make up. He'll grow back quickly bc they're so short!

      Comment

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