Chemotherapy chemo uses anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously injected into your vein or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Occasionally, chemo may be given directly into the spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Breast cancer is the most common form of malignancy in women, especially in those aged over 50 years. Established risk factors include age, early onset of menstruation, late menopause, older age at first completed pregnancy, and a family history of breast cancer. The use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy HRT is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
For those with early breast cancer, chemotherapy is usually given after breast surgery called adjuvant chemotherapybut before radiation therapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy helps lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence by getting rid of cancer cells that might still be in the body. These cells are too small to see on scans or to measure with lab tests. Learn more about getting chemotherapy.
One of the earliest widespread applications of precision medicine in cancer care is helping patients and physicians decide whether chemotherapy is needed, a new study finds. Researchers reviewed a test that assesses the risk of breast cancer recurrence and whether chemotherapy is likely to help lower that risk in women with early stage disease. The test looks at 21 genes known to increase risk of cancer recurrence.
This information is based on AJCC Staging systems prior to which were primarily based on tumor size and lymph node status. Since the updated staging system for breast cancer now also includes the ER, PR and HER2 status, the stages may be higher or lower than previous staging systems. Whether or not treatment strategies will change with this new staging system are yet to be determined.
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Chemotherapy is the use of drugs medicines to kill cancer cells. The aim of these medicines is to destroy any cancer cells in the body that may have escaped away from the breast into the bloodstream and other parts of the body. These cells are usually much too small to show up on X-rays or blood tests.
Skip to Content. Use the menu to see other pages. This section explains the types of treatments that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer.