BREAST CANCER INDIA

Listen to your body. Be Aware.

UNDERSTANDING BREAST CANCER


CHEMOTHERAPY

Click on the links below for other sub topics in this section:

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is administration of 'cytotoxic' drugs into the body, by either an intra venous line, or by some systems, which are implanted into the major veins of body. 'Cytotoxic' implies lethal to the cells. The cells of a cancer divide very rapidly, and are out of genetic control of a body (Genetic control maintains the turnover of the cells and does not allow them to exceed beyond a certain number). Chemotherapy agents are targeted at such rapidly dividing cells, and act by various mechanisms. However, there are many normal cells which also have a rapid turnover, and such cells are affected by chemotherapy resulting in the common side effects that we usually see. To understand how chemotherapy works on cancer cells, and the side effects of chemotherapy, please click HERE .


What are the types of chemotherapy for breast cancer?

The types of chemotherapy for breast cancer vary according to the stage of the disease, whether prior surgery has been done or not, and our intent of giving CT. 'Intent' means that are we giving the chemotherapy to achieve a cure and reduce chances of disease coming back (intent is curative ), or are we giving it in a very advanced stage just to achieve some prolongation of life, but cannot achive a cure (intent is palliative ). So depending on the 'timing' of chemotherapy and the 'intent' of chemotherapy, the following nomenclature is used to describe the types of chemotherapy and the same is maintained through out this site.

In a similar fashion, chemotherapy is also labelled as 'First' line, 'Second' line etc. If a patient of breast cancer undergoes a curative treatment and receives CT during same, that will be first line CT. Then suppose she is fine for a couple of years, and then develops a recurrence for which she now receives one more round of CT. This would be second line chemotherapy, and so on. Presently, the treatment of breast cancer has upto four (or five) lines of chemotherapy as a standard of care.