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Chemotherapy and Systemic Targeted Therapy


Systemic Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer

Targeted drug therapies for breast cancer are also systemic treatments that attack a specific abnormality on the breast cancer cells. Targeted drug therapies, similar to chemotherapy and hormone therapy, can be given before surgery (neoadjuvantly), after surgery (adjuvantly), or to treat recurrences or metastases to other organs. Unlike chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapies usually do not attack normal cells in the body.

Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy is considered a systemic therapy in the treatment of breast cancer. It is most often given as an adjuvant therapy after surgery, but can also be given before surgery (or neoadjuvantly). Chemotherapy is also often used to treat breast cancer that has recurred or spread.

Chemotherapy is usually prescribed by a medical oncologist. It is most often given intravenously through a port-a-catheter, a catheter that is inserted into a large vein leading to your heart and implanted under the skin to provide easy access for both chemotherapy and blood tests. Some chemotherapy drugs, however, do come in pill form.

Usually chemotherapy is given in cycles with time to recover between treatments. The type of chemotherapy drug your medical oncologist prescribes will determine how long each cycle will be. Some drugs are given only once every 2 to 3 weeks, others are given daily for a week or two, and still others are given weekly.

Side Effects

Chemotherapy drugs work by killing cells that are dividing quickly, but they cannot tell the difference between cancer cells and other cells in your body that are also dividing quickly. Because chemotherapy drugs affect the hair follicles, bone marrow, intestinal lining, and cells of your mouth, they can also cause the following common side effects:

  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Immunosuppression (increased susceptibility to infection)
  • Easy bruising

For further more details, Contact Dr.S.Ayyappan has a best experience in Chemotherapy treatment at Kumaran hospital in Kilpauk, Chennai.