Chemotherapy treatment uses medicine to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body, including cells at the original cancer site and any cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. Chemotherapy, often shortened to just "chemo," is a systemic therapy, which means it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream and is given through the intravenous route.
Usually a combination of two or more medicines will be used as chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and will be decided by the final histopathology report depending on
- Tumour size
- Lymph node status
- Lymphovascular emboli
- ER /PR/ Her-2 status
- Comorbid conditions
Chemotherapy is used to treat:
- early-stage invasive breast cancer is given to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back
- advanced-stage breast cancer to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible that may be present in circulation.
In some cases, chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink the cancer
Having a mastectomy does not mean that chemotherapy will be spared.The decision for chemotherapy is based on the final histopathology report after the lump/breast and all lymph nodes are removed
Improved supportive medicines are given along with chemotherapy due to which side-effects like nausea, vomiting and infections are now significantly reduced.
A Hickman Catheter or Port may have to be put in the larger veins of neck to make Chemotherapy administration easier as smaller veins can get damaged by repeated iv administration of chemotherapy in the arm.