For those with breast cancer, the idea of undergoing chemotherapy can be somewhat daunting. In all honesty, chemotherapy can be a draining procedure. However, it can also be the vital means of sending malignant cancer into remission. As such, it is important to look at the variety of chemotherapy options available. Often, the options are much more positive than some may initially assume.
Breast cancer chemotherapy generally centers on the administration of drugs in order to combat the cancerous cells. In particular, there are three different types of breast cancer chemotherapy. Each method has its own particular goals and purpose. They are neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative chemotherapy. Each will be examined individually.
Neoadjuvant. This type of chemotherapy centers on administering drugs prior to surgery. The goal is to increase the odds of success by shrinking the size of the cancerous tumor(s). Again, the drugs are no administered to send the cancer into remission. The goal is to make the surgery easier and, hopefully, increase the odds of success.
Adjuvant. While neoadjuvant chemotherapy is performed prior to surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy is performed after surgery. The reason for this is to reduce a reoccurrence of the cancer cells. Yes, even though the cancerous tissue has been completely removed during surgery, a risk of its return is possible. This is just the nature of breast cancer. The administration of the drug used is not random. Dosage levels are decided upon after a careful examination of the patient’s medical history as well as other factors.
Palliative Chemotherapy. This is probably the most misunderstood form of chemotherapy. This is because it is not employed to cure the patient of cancer. When one defines palliative chemotherapy in such a broad manner (as many do) it often becomes undervalued. In actuality, this type of chemotherapy possesses enormous value since it is used to improve the quality of a patient’s life. This is done by controlling and reducing the spread of the cancer cells to other areas of the body. In some instances, this type of chemotherapy is employed in order to increase comfort levels while the other, more expansive forms of chemotherapy are employed as well.
Of course, this is merely a brief overview of the three types of breast cancer chemotherapy. For more detailed information, it is best to discuss the process and procedures with you physician. This will allow for a better understanding of how chemotherapy will be utilized in your particular situation.