Chemotherapy treatment utilizes special drugs that are administered either orally or intravenously to destroy cancerous cells. These drugs generally travel to all parts of the body through the bloodstream. Normally, chemotherapy is used for treating early-stage invasive breast cancers. It is designed to eliminate any remaining cancerous cells following surgery & for reducing risk of recurrence of breast cancer. Chemotherapy is also utilized for destroying advanced-stage breast cancer or for the purpose of damaging cancerous cells. Moreover, in some patients, chemotherapy is also given prior to operation in order to shrink the size of cancerous tumors before surgical intervention.
There are many breast cancer situations in which chemotherapy is recommended. However, not all women with breast cancer require chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is commonly needed in the following circumstances.
Chemotherapy is found to be most effective when combinations of chemo drugs are used. However, doctors nowadays use several different combinations & no single combination is yet recognized as the best. Common chemotherapy drugs used for treating breast cancer include the following. Most often combinations involving 2 or 3 of these drugs are normally used.
Typically administered intravenously either through injections or through infusion over longer periods of time, chemotherapy for breast cancer is given in cycles so as to allow body time to recover from chemo drugs in between. These cycles usually last for 2 or 3 weeks time. However, schedules vary from one drug to another. Adjuvant & neoadjuvant chemotherapy is usually given for 3 to 6 months of time depending upon the chemo drugs that are being used. Length for advanced breast cancer treatment is usually based upon how well the chemo drug is working & the type of side effects they are generating.
Side effects caused due to chemotherapy usually depend upon the type & dosage of drugs administered & the length of treatment. Some of the most common chemotherapy side effects include the following.
However, most of these side effects usually go away once chemotherapy treatment is over. Moreover, doctors can also suggest ways to lessen the intensity of these side effects. Like for example, other drugs may be prescribed which can help reduce or prevent nausea & vomiting.
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