Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy uses medication(s) to weaken or destroy the cancer cells in the body. It is a whole-body, or systemic, treatment that travels through the blood stream. Chemotherapy medications are often very strong, and may interfere with the function of healthy cells. They are not used to treat all stages or types of breast cancer.
Your medical oncologist may recommend one or more courses of chemotherapy only after the type, size and stage of your cancer has been determined. Chemotherapy is most often recommended for cancer that has traveled to other parts of the body, like lymph nodes or elsewhere, or to shrink large tumors before surgery.
Different chemotherapy medications have different delivery systems. Some are pills taken daily at home; others are delivered via IV in your doctor's office, the hospital or the outpatient center on a schedule to be determined by the prescribed regimen (usually every two to three weeks for approximately six months).
Chemotherapy has many well-known, common side effects, including:
- Anemia or changes in the blood
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neuropathy (pain or loss of sensation in the extremities)
Side effects may be lessened with medication to treat them or changes to your chemotherapy regimen. Discuss any side effects with your doctors. All patients are offered a one-on-one training session prior to their first chemotherapy session by an oncology certified nurse.
To make an appointment, or find out more about The Breast Center, please call 443-777-6500.