Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer is very common cause in woman, and woman with 41000 cases being diagnosed every year and also men with 300 cases. In U.S., it most common cause for cancer death in women between the ages of 45 and 55. Breast cancer may diagnose because of an abnormality seen on lump and mammogram and also, because of change in consistency in breast tissues. As a part of national breast screening, all women between the ages 50 and 69 are offered mammograms in U.K. this program help to catch the cancer as early as possible.

Research tells that the genetic and hormonal factors are the primary risk factors for breast cancer. There is a system, which is known as staging system in which the extents are characterized to which the specific cancer has spread. With the help of this, decisions are taken for treatment. Treatment of this depends on the type or extents to which it has spread.

Process of cancer:

In most women, cancer is noticed as a painless lump for first time. Breast Cancer ChemotherapyPain is a rare symptom in breast cancer. There are other symptoms also as slide change in shape and size of the breast, thickening of breast tissue, appearance of lump or swelling in the arm pit, rashes affecting the nipples and dimpling of the skin. Cancer begins in the cell which builds tissues and tissues build the organs of the body. As for the need of our body, the cells grow and divide to form new cells. The process of growth of new cell and death is a normal, however sometimes the new cells form, when there is no need to body of them and the old cells that do not die when they should. That is why, the extra cells forms a mass of tissue. This is known as tumor.

These tumors can be malignant or benign.

Benign tumors: These are not cancers and can be removed easily, which do not grow back. They rarely lives threatening. Cells from these tumors do not invade the tissues around to them. Also the cells from benign tumors do not spread to any other part of body.

Malignant tumors: These tumors may life threatening because they are generally dangerous than benign tumors. The cells from this tumor can spread and that is why tissues and organs nearby this can get damaged. Malignant tumors are removable but there are more chances to grow back. The cells from this tumor can spread to other part of body. They can spread by breaking their original tumor. They cells may enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream. The cells may form other tumors by invading to the other organ, which gives damage to the organ. This process of spreading is called as metastasis. Breast cancer may spread to other part of body, mostly like bones, brain, lungs and liver.

Treatment with chemotherapy : Chemotherapy is the treatment in which anticancer drugs are used to kill the cancer cells. The breast cancer chemotherapy drugs are mostly of combination of more than one drug. It is given in the form of injection in the vein or as a pill. Some women need to live in hospital for treatment, however chemotherapy may also done at doctor’s office, at the home and outpatient part of hospital.

There are many treatment options for breast cancer including hormone therapy, biological therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment, method or choice depends on stage of the disease. Before treatment you may have to know about your activities after treatment. Also it is important to know to you that how will you look during, and after treatment.

Treatment is held in two ways either local therapy or systemic therapy.

Local therapy: This therapy includes surgery and radiation therapy, which destroys or removes cancer cells. Local therapy is very useful, because it controls the disease in those areas where the cancer cell has spread.

Systemic therapy: In systemic treatment, therapies like hormone therapy, biological therapy and chemotherapy are included. Some women having breast cancer needs systemic therapy to shrink the tumor before the radiation treatment. Treatments like biological therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy are held by entering the blood stream, which destroys or control cancer throughout the body. This treatment is also useful for the cancer which has spread.

Drugs for breast cancer chemotherapy:

There are very few common drugs which are used for breast cancer chemotherapy. Usually, combination of three drugs of chemotherapy is used for the cancer treatment. However, most of specialists suggests drugs like:

  • Mitozantrone
  • Docetaxel
  • Doxorubicin
  • Mitomycin
  • Epirubicin
  • 5-fluorouracil or 5FU
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Methotrexate

The chemotherapy like “adjuvant chemotherapy” should consist of 4 to 8 cycles of combination of drugs, which includes epirubicin or doxorubicin.

There are some most drug combinations, which are used for breast cancer are as follows:

  • MM- Methotrexate and mitozantrone
  • CMF- Cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-FU
  • AC- doxorubicin (adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide
  • FEC- epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and 5-FU
  • E-CMF- epirubicin, which is followed by CMF
  • MMM- Mitizantrone, methotrexate and mitomycin

Side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer :

Healthy cells and tissues are often damaged by cancer treatment therefore side effects are common. Side effects depend on the type of treatment and are not same for each woman. Chemotherapy can lower the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and palates you have. Other breast cancer chemotherapy side effects are like:

  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Sickness feeling
  • Changes in your periods
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore mouth
  • Sore eyes

These side effects are mostly for short period and may stop after your treatment has finished. You may take some other medicines, after consulting with your doctor.

There are some long term side effects of chemotherapy. You fill tired after finishing your chemo treatment and some people need time up to one year to get their energy back. Chemotherapy can affect the ability to get pregnant and also it affects your periods if still you having. After finishing your treatment, your periods may start again after 6 months or a year after. Also, you may have some menopausal systems like mood change and hot flushes and sweats.