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Types Of Chemo For Breast Cancer

Bladder Irritation And Pink Or Red Urine

Chemotherapy or No Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer

Drink plenty of fluids around the time you have your treatment because chemotherapy drugs can irritate the lining of the bladder. Try to empty your bladder regularly, as soon as you feel the urge. Tell your specialist if you notice any irritation or a burning/stinging sensation when passing urine.

Doxorubicin can cause your urine to become pink or red for a couple of days. This is because of the colour of the drug, and is completely normal.

What Are The Side Effects

As chemotherapy works by attacking fast-growing cells in the body, it also attacks some of the normal fast-growing cells in the body, including blood cells, hair follicles and cells inside the mouth, gut and reproductive organs. This causes side effects including: nausea, hair loss, fatigue and mouth and gut issues. Unlike cancer cells however, normal cells usually recover from the damage.

Not everyone has side effects from chemotherapy and most side effects stop when chemotherapy treatment stops. Your medical oncologist or oncology nurse can give you information on ways to manage these side effects.

If side effects are affecting your daily life, its important to discuss them with a member of your medical team. In some instances, your medical oncologist may be able to change your chemotherapy drug to one that has fewer side effects or reduce the dose of the chemotherapy.

Hair loss

Hair loss can be one of the most upsetting side effects of chemotherapy. Whether or not you lose your hair depends on the type of chemotherapy drugs prescribed for you.

As well as losing hair from your head you may also lose hair from other parts of the body, such as eyebrows and eye lashes.

To help prevent hair loss from your head, some oncology centres offer the use of scalp cooling machines. Scalp cooling works by chilling the scalp and reducing blood flow to the scalp to prevent chemotherapy from getting to the hair follicles. This means the hair is less likely to be damaged and fall out.

What Are The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy side effects vary based on what kind of drugs you take and for how long. Common chemotherapy side effects include:

During chemotherapy treatment, many people still work, exercise and care for their families. For others, the treatment can be exhausting and time-consuming. It may be difficult to keep up with usual activities.

Speak with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. You may manage side effects with supportive medications, such as anti-nausea drugs. Chemotherapy side effects generally go away after you finish treatment.

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Chemotherapy Regimens For Early

At some point, your medical oncologist will recommend a chemotherapy plan for you. Also called a chemotherapy regimen, the plan will have important details about your treatment, including:

  • which drugs youre receiving
  • the order in which you receive them
  • the amount of each drug
  • how often and how long you will need chemotherapy

Most women with early-stage breast cancer receive chemotherapy for approximately three to six months. Theres time in between treatments to allow your body to recover. If you are receiving targeted therapy for early HER2-positive breast cancer, treatment could last up to a year.

For some people, doctors may recommend a dose-dense chemotherapy regimen. Dose-dense chemotherapy means there is less time between treatments. You will not need to have a larger dose of chemotherapy.

Research has shown that dose-dense chemotherapy can improve survival and lower the risk of the breast cancer coming back compared to a traditional chemotherapy schedule. Dose-dense chemotherapy does not result in more side effects.

What Happens Before Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer

Anti Cancer Drugs

A few days before your chemotherapy treatment, youll have blood tests. The blood tests tell your oncologist and pharmacist how to tailor your treatment based on your laboratory values and body mass index .

You may receive chemotherapy through a large, sturdy tube called a central venous catheter . If your healthcare provider recommends a CVC, it will be surgically implanted before treatment. It stays in place until you finish chemotherapy. Types of CVCs include:

  • Central line: Long, plastic tube inserted near your heart or in a neck vein.
  • Peripherally inserted central catheter : A central line that goes in through an arm vein.
  • Port-a-cath : A small, implantable chamber where your nurse gives drug injections.

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How Does Ac Chemotherapy Work

Chemotherapy drugs interfere with how cancer cells develop and grow, and different drugs do this in different ways.

AC chemotherapy works by stopping the cancer cells from dividing and multiplying, which blocks the growth of the cancer.

Different chemotherapy drugs attack cancer cells at different stages of their growth. This is why a combination of drugs is often used instead of a single drug.

AC chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, which means it affects cells throughout the body.

Effects Of Giving Ac Chemotherapy

While the drug cyclophosphamide is being injected, you may feel hot or flushed and slightly dizzy, and have an itchy nose or a metallic taste in your mouth. These feelings usually go away when the injection is finished, but tell your chemotherapy nurse if you experience any of them. Some people find sucking a boiled sweet helps.

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How Targeted Therapy Works

Targeted therapies are created to attack specific parts of cancer cells to prevent cancer growth or to shrink existing tumors.

Each type of targeted therapy works a little differently, but all tend to interfere with the ability of cancer cells to grow, divide, repair, and communicate with other cells.

Here are some of the common types of targeted therapy:

  • Monoclonal antibodies. These medications are often combined with toxins, chemotherapy drugs, and radiation. They attach to targets on the surface of cancer cells and deliver these substances, causing cancer cells to die without harming healthy cells.
  • Small molecule inhibitors. These drugs generally target and inhibit specific pathways and processes that cause cancer cells to proliferate. They must be small enough to be able to enter the cell and interfere with proteins on both the inside and outside of the cell.
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors. These drugs inhibit the formation of new blood vessels, which fuel the growth of cancer cells.

What Happens After Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Adjuvant Chemotherapy Patient Types

Immediately after chemotherapy, you may feel sleepy or nauseated. Typically, the side effects of chemotherapy go away after you complete all prescribed cycles.

After all of your cycles of chemotherapy are completed, your healthcare provider may order imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs, to show whether the cancer is gone or the tumor has shrunk.

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Sore Mouth And Taste Changes

Youll be given mouthwash to try to reduce soreness of the mouth and gums and to try to stop mouth ulcers developing. Good mouth hygiene is very important during treatment. Its advisable to see your dentist for a dental check-up before chemotherapy begins, but avoid dental treatment during chemotherapy.

While you’re having AC chemotherapy your taste can change and some food may taste different .

What Happens If Chemo Doesnt Work

Your oncologist might suggest new treatments, such as trying different combinations of chemotherapy drugs that include experimental options. Still, you and your oncologist must consider whether more treatment will improve your health, or whether its best to stop treatment altogether and pursue palliative care.

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Chemotherapy For Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy is often recommended for treating triple negative breast cancer. Unlike most other types of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer does not respond to the presence of certain hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, nor does it have an abnormally high level of HER2 receptors. Therefore, hormone therapy is largely ineffective for treatment purposes. Nevertheless, triple negative breast cancer often responds very well to chemotherapy.

Depending on when chemo is administered, its goals can vary. For instance, chemotherapy may be recommended prior to surgery to attempt to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. In this way, it may be possible to shrink tumors and make them easier to remove, which can increase the likelihood of a successful surgical outcome. Additionally, because it is not always possible for a surgeon to completely remove a patients cancer, chemotherapy may be recommended after surgery to target any remaining cancer cells and help prevent spread and recurrence. Alternatively, chemo can be used as a primary form of treatment to control the growth and ease the symptoms of large tumors that cannot be surgically removed.

  • Infused into a vein through an intravenous drip

  • Injected by needle into a vein or muscle

  • Taken by mouth in pill or capsule form

  • Swallowed in liquid form


How Is Ac Chemotherapy Given

Different types of Cancer Treatments Available in India

AC chemotherapy is given intravenously . This will usually be as an infusion into the hand or arm, although other intravenous methods may be used depending on factors such as how easy it is for chemotherapy staff to find suitable veins, and your preferences.

Read about the different ways chemotherapy may be given.

Youll normally be given your treatment at hospital as an outpatient or day case, which means youll be able to go home on the same day.

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Hi Kim Im Stage Ii Also I

Hi Kim, Im stage II also. I am 45. I opted to have the chemo . Totally up to me. My thought process was if there is even a slight possibility that it will help Im doing it. It didnt hurt that my oncologist said if I was his daughter hed want me to do it. 🙂 So far Ive had 5 of my 12 treatments and its going well. They removed the oxiliplatin after round 3 because the neuropathy was getting pretty bad. So now its just the 5FU and the Leucovorin. This has made treatment much more tolerable. Everyone reacts differently, but if you are just getting the 5FU, I dont think youll have a rough time of it. Its pretty well tolerated.

Feel free to message me if youd like to discuss this more.

Where You Have Chemotherapy

You usually have treatment into your bloodstream at the cancer day clinic. You might sit in a chair for a few hours so its a good idea to take things in to do. For example, newspapers, books or electronic devices can all help to pass the time. You can usually bring a friend or family member with you.

You have some types of chemotherapy over several days. You might be able to have some drugs through a small portable pump that you take home.

For some types of chemotherapy you have to stay in a hospital ward. This could be overnight or for a couple of days.

Some hospitals may give certain chemotherapy treatments to you at home. Your doctor or nurse can tell you more about this.

Clare Disney : Hello, my name is Clare and this is a cancer day unit.

So when you arrive and youve reported into with the receptionist, one of the nurses will call you through when your treatment is ready, sit you down and go through all the treatment with you.

Morning, Iris. My name is Clare. I am the nurse who is going to be looking after you today. Were going to start by putting a cannula in the back of your hand and giving you some anti sickness medication. And then I am going to come back to you and talk through the chemotherapy with you and the possible side effects you may experience throughout your treatment. Is that okay?

Each chemotherapy is made up for each individual patient, depending on the type of cancer they have and where it is and depending their height, weight and blood results.

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How Long Does Chemotherapy Take For Breast Cancer

Typically, you receive chemotherapy in cycles. You may receive chemo every week or every two, three or even four weeks. Cycles are usually two to three treatments long. Each cycle includes a rest period to allow your body to recover. For example, you may have the same treatment every Monday for three weeks. Then you have an extra week to recover before repeating the cycle. Many people have multiple treatment cycles in a row. Treatment may last three to six months.

Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment

Nearly 70 percent of early breast cancer patients may not need chemotherapy: Study

Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.

This section explains the types of treatments, also known as therapies, that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are encouraged to discuss with your doctor whether clinical trials are an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors learn through clinical trials whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less drug or radiation treatment or doing less extensive surgery than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.

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Expert Review And References

  • Bursein HJ, Harris JR, Morrow M. Malignant tumors of the breast. Devita, V. T., Jr., Lawrence, T. S., & Rosenberg, S. A. Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2008: 43.2: pp. 1606-54.
  • Foxson SB, Lattimer JG & Felder B. Breast cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. . Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett 2011: 48: pp. 1091-1145.
  • National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Treatment Health Professional Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute 2010.
  • Breast cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. National Comprehensive Cancer Network 2010.
  • Tripathy D, Eskenazi LB, Goodson, WH, et al. Breast. Ko, A. H., Dollinger, M., & Rosenbaum, E. Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy: How Cancer is Diagnosed, Treated and Managed Day to Day. 5th ed. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing 2008: pp. 473-514.

Common Side Effects Of Ac Chemotherapy

Like any treatment, AC chemotherapy can cause side effects. Everyone reacts differently to drugs and some people have more side effects than others. These side effects can usually be managed and those described here will not affect everyone.

If youre concerned about any side effects, regardless of whether they are listed here, talk to your chemotherapy nurse or cancer specialist as soon as possible.

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What Type Of Chemotherapy Is Used For Breast Cancer

Common chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer Chemotherapy drugs used to treat early breast cancer include: Anthracyclines: This class of drugs includes doxorubicin and epirubicin . Taxanes: This class of drugs includes docetaxel and paclitaxel .

How many chemotherapy treatments are needed for breast cancer?

The chemotherapy cycle can vary from once a week to once every three weeks. Each treatment session is followed by a recovery period. Typically, if you have early-stage breast cancer, youll have chemotherapy treatments for three to six months, but your doctor will tailor the timing to your situation.

What are the most common chemotherapy drugs?

Chemotherapy drugs

  • Abraxane
  • Adriamycin
  • daunorubicin
  • Doxil

Side Effects Of Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy usually works by attacking rapidly dividing cells. This means that chemotherapy can harm not only cancer cells but also healthy cells that are dividing rapidly, like the ones that cause your hair to grow.

Whether you have side effects from breast cancer chemotherapy will depend on the details of your treatment plan. The care teams at MSK are committed to helping you feel your best during and after treatment. During treatment, well watch carefully for your reaction to the drugs and adjust the drugs or dose as necessary. Well also continue to monitor you for possible long-term effects after your treatment ends.

We offer a variety of other specialized services to support you during your treatment. Many MSK patients find that our Integrative Medicine Service can be a valuable part of their treatment plan. Programs include massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, visualization, music therapy, and nutritional counseling.

One side effect of chemotherapy can be hair loss. MSK offers scalp cooling to help minimize hair loss. Learn more about scalp cooling, or ask your care team for more information.

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For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Chemo can be used as the main treatment for women whose cancer has spread outside the breast and underarm area to distant organs like the liver or lungs. Chemo can be given either when breast cancer is diagnosed or after initial treatments. The length of treatment depends on how well the chemo is working and how well you tolerate it.

Summary Of Treatment Options For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer

Hormonal therapy is considered the standard initial treatment for HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer that is also hormone receptor-positive. It is often given in combination with targeted therapy. However, chemotherapy may also be given. A clinical trial may also be an option for treatment at any stage.

Hormone receptor-negative, HER2-negative breast cancer

In general, chemotherapy or targeted therapy is given for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. A clinical trial may also be an option for treatment at any stage.

HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to parts of the body other than the brain

In general, HER2-targeted therapy is regularly added to treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread. The drugs used depend on the treatments already given and whether the cancer is hormone receptor-positive. The treatment recommendations for first-line, second-line, and third-line or higher treatment are described below. A clinical trial may also be an option for treatment at any stage.

First-line treatment

Second-line treatment

  • For people with advanced breast cancer that has grown during or after first-line treatment with a HER2-targeted therapy, ASCO recommends trastuzumab deruxtecan as a second-line treatment.

Third-line or higher treatment

HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to the brain

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