What is breast cancer chemotherapy?
chemotherapy for breast cancer uses drugs to target and destroy breast cancer cells. These drugs are usually administered directly into a vein through a needle or as a pill.
Breast cancer chemotherapy is widely used alongside other treatments, such as surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy. Getting chemotherapy for breast cancer can increase the chance of a cure, reduce the risk of the cancer returning, relieve the symptoms of cancer, or help people with cancer live longer with a better quality of life.
If the cancer has returned or has spread, chemotherapy can help control breast cancer to help you live longer. Or it can help relieve the symptoms of the cancer.
Chemotherapy for breast cancer also carries the risk of side effects – some temporary and mild, others more severe or permanent. Your doctor can help you decide if breast cancer chemotherapy is a good choice for you.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
The three main goals for breast cancer treatment:
- To prevent cancer from coming back after surgery and radiation. When chemotherapy is used in this way, it is called adjuvant therapy.
- To shrink a tumor before surgery to make it easier to remove. This is called neoadjuvant therapy.
To kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
- You and your doctor will discuss together when to start chemotherapy, what drugs to take and a plan to take them. Remember to ask what side effects you might expect from the medication.
Common chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer:
The Chemotherapy drugs are mainly used to treat early breast cancer include:
- Anthracyclines: This classes of drugs includes doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and epirubicin (Ellence).
- Taxanes: This class of drugs includes docetaxel (Taxotere) and paclitaxel (Taxol).
- These drugs are often used with others like carboplatin, cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), and fluorouracil (5-FU).
Common chemotherapy pills for breast cancer
Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat early breast cancer.
These class of medications includes:
|Albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel or Abraxane)|
|Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)|
|Platinum (carboplatin, cisplatin)|
Why does chemo cause side effects?
Cancer cells begin to grow quickly, and chemotherapy destroys rapidly growing cells. But because these drugs move across the body, they may also affect healthy cells. Damage to healthy cells causes side effects. Side effects are not always as bad as you would expect, but it is normal to be concerned with this aspect of cancer treatment.
The normal cells most-likely to be damaged by chemotherapy are:
|Blood forming cells in the bone marrow|
|Cells in the mouth|
|digestive tract and reproductive system|
Some chemotherapy drugs can damage heart , liver, bladder, lungs and nervous system cells. You may also use chemo medicines to protect the normal cells in your body. Treatments are also available to reduce the side effects.
Doctors try to give chemo at a level high enough to treat cancer, with minimal side effects. They also try to avoid taking multiple medications that have similar side effects.
— Therapixel (@therapixel) May 22, 2020
The most common side effects of chemotherapy
Here are some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy :
|Easy bruising and bleeding.|
|Anemia (low red blood cell count)|
|Nausea and vomiting.|
Some examples of chemotherapy pills include:
Depending on the drug and the type of cancer it treats, the average monthly cost of chemo drugs can range from $ 1,000 to $ 12,000. If a cancer patient needs four chemo sessions per year, it can cost them a total of $ 48,000, which is above the average annual income.
What is the costs of chemotherapy treatment in India?
The cost of chemotherapy in India ranges from $ 7,000 to $ 30,000. Usually it ranges from USD 650-1100 per cycle and depends entirely on the number of recommended chemotherapy, stages of cancer and other factors. India compares the costs of chemotherapy and proves to be the cheapest countries to offer advanced treatments.
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REF : cancer.org