Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer – What You Need To Know Before Undergoing The Treatment

Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer – What You Need To Know Before Undergoing The Treatment

Chemotherapy is generally prescribed as a treatment for patients with early stage breast cancer. It is also the treatment of choice for patients with high-risk metastatic breast cancer. The drugs used in the treatment kill rapidly dividing tumor cells that may be spreading through the body. This helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back in another part of the body.

Chemotherapy can also be used as the main treatment for cancer that has spread outside the breast and underarm area. It can also be used to shrink a large tumor prior to surgery. The treatment can be administered in-patient, outpatient, at home or a combination of these. Chemotherapy for breast cancer and tamoxifen have been shown to independently reduce the risk of developing a second cancer in the other breast. The risk reduction may persist for at least five to ten years.

Chemotherapy also works best in younger women. This treatment is usually administered between two to six weeks following surgery and continues for total of three to six months. The same treatment is usually given after surgery because it can reduce the chance of the cancer returning. This is known as adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer and may boost cure rates by as much as fifteen percent.

One may therefore conclude that chemotherapy is the initial choice for the treatment of breast cancer. However, there are several factors to be considered before deciding to undergo the treatment.

Before the doctor decides to recommend chemotherapy to his or her breast cancer patient, the doctor would generally take into consideration the age of the patient, as well as her life stage. While chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery may slow the progression of recurrent breast cancer, chemotherapy and radiation can permanently damage ovaries.

Early menopause may set in when the ovaries stop producing estrogen. If a patient is relatively young and plans to start a family eventually, she could first have her eggs harvested for future use before undergoing chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy should not be given during the first three months of pregnancy as it may cause fetal malformations. The treatment has been more widely used in the second and third trimesters, as organogenesis is complete. However, it may still cause early labor and low birth weight.

Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer – What You Need To Know Before Undergoing The Treatment

Other research has shown that chemotherapy may affect a developing fetus in the second or third trimester. If the breast cancer must be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy and if your oncologist deems the treatment may harm the fetus, you may face the painful decision of having to end your pregnancy. This decision will likely depend on the stage of cancer, the age of the fetus and the mother’s chance of survival. Be sure to discuss with your oncologist to make sure you fully understand the risks before commencing your treatment.

While the chemotherapy kills the cancer cells, it will leave the patient weak. Your medical oncologist and nurse will discuss possible side effects with you before treatment begins.

To cope with the side effects, be sure to get adequate rest between treatments. Eat non greasy, nutritious food and drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices to ensure that your body is well nourished. Take multivitamins if necessary. Vitamins and minerals to take with chemotherapy for breast cancer would include Vitamin C and D, as well as calcium, magnesium and zinc, among others.

Taking multivitamins with minerals after diagnosis was found to be associated with a 20% lower risk of recurrence and 29% lower risk of breast cancer-specific death compared to never using multivitamins.You may also eat organic yogurt as a way of helping your digestive tract to recover and repopulate your gut with friendly bacteria to boost your immune system.

Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer – What You Need To Know Before Undergoing The Treatment

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